Mainz terminate contract of Anwar El Ghazi over Israel-Gaza post

Mainz have terminated the contract of winger Anwar El Ghazi for a social media post about the Israel-Gaza war.

The Bundesliga side suspended the 28-year-old last month following his Instagram story post expressing support for Palestinians.

On Monday, Mainz lifted his suspension and said last week that El Ghazi would be available for selection again after being given a “warning” and showing “remorse”.

But on Friday the club confirmed that El Ghazi’s contract had been terminated “with immediate effect”.

A statement read: “FSV Mainz 05 is ending the contractual relationship with Anwar El Ghazi and terminated the player with immediate effect on Friday.

“The club is taking this measure in response to the player’s statements and posts on social media.”

El Ghazi said on Wendesday that he “did not distance himself” from what he said and stood by his social media post.

In a lengthy message on Instagram, El Ghazi wrote: “My position remains the same as it was when this started.

“I am against war and violence. I am against the killing of all innocent civilians. I am against all forms of discrimination. I am against Islamaphobia. I am against anti-semitism. I am against genocide. I am against apartheid. I am against occupation. I am against oppression.

“I do not regret or have any remorse for my position. I do not distance myself from what I said and I stand, today and always until my last breath, for humanity and the oppressed.”

He added: “I do not owe special responsibility to any state. I do not believe any people or states are beyond question and accountability, nor are they above international law.

“I have no choice but to stand firm and bear witness to the truth and would do so even if was against me, my parents, my relatives and kinsmen.”

El Ghazi initiated his message on Wednesday with the statement: “Just to make it clear, my message on October 27, 2023, stands as my sole and definitive statement to both FSV Mainz 05 and the public regarding the social media posts I’ve made in recent weeks.”

Mainz then issued a statement on the platform X (formerly Twitter), expressing their bewilderment and surprise at El Ghazi’s comments.

El Ghazi later provided clarification regarding his initial post, which had been removed. In his follow-up message, he said he stood “for peace above everything” and called for “more empathy” as “deepening our knowledge about the history of this conflict is vital”.

Mainz had previously stated that El Ghazi’s original comments “took a position on the conflict in the Middle East in a manner that wasn’t tolerable for the club”.

El Ghazi signed for Mainz on a free transfer in September 2023 and has played three games this season.

Mainz are bottom of the Bundesliga and host RB Leipzig on Saturday.

(Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images)

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