Moroccan- Dutch footballer Anwar El Ghazi has refused to cooperate with pressure from Mainz 05, where the German club has ordered him to film a video apologising for his open support for Palestine, as his father has said.
It comes days after Bundesliga Mainz 05 had suspended the 28-year-old winger over declaration for Palestinian freedom amid the atrocities being carried out in Gaza by Isreal.
Mohammed El Ghazi, the footballer’s father, said that his son was “greatly affected” by the Bundesliga club’s decision to suspend him indefinitely because of his Instagram post in support of Palestine.
“From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free,” the player had said in his Instagram post,expressing his solidarity with the oppressed Palestinians in their 75-year long struggle for an independent state.
Speaking to football-focused outlet Winwin, the player’s father said: “His German team tried to pressure him to release a video where he apologizes for his stance, which he strongly refused and decided to leave Germany and come back to his hometown of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.”
“Anwar told me he was greatly affected, he cried a lot,” he continued. “He met with the board of Mainz and told them he will not go back on his solidarity with the children of Gaza.”
The player has gone back with his family to Rotterdam, according to the father, as it is expected that his days with the German club are over.
El Ghazi, who is of Moroccan origin, has represented the Dutch national team at all age levels, but recently changed his sporting allegiance to represent Morocco instead, Winwin reported.
The player’s father also added that his son has received several offers from Gulf clubs in light of the news of his suspension by Mainz, particularly from teams playing in the Qatar Stars League.
Several footballers have expressed their support for Palestine following the recent escalations of Israeli violence, as air strikes and relentless shelling killed over 3,500 Palestinians in the Gaza strip.
Another Moroccan player to have expressed his support for Palestine is Bayern Munich defender Noussair Mazraoui. The Moroccan right-back has since faced a harassment campaign from German media outlets, with many describing him as a terrorism defender and pressuring his Bavarian club to take action against him.