Credit Daily mail.uk.co
Ozil is convinced Arsenal’s commercial interests in China influenced the club’s decision to omit him from their Premier League and Europa League squads.
The former Germany midfielder launched a scathing attack on his employers on Wednesday in which he accused Arsenal of disloyalty, before pointedly adding that he will continue to use his global profile to fight against inhumanity.
Ozil’s inflammatory statement is understood to have been a reference to his infamous Instagram post last December in which he condemned China’s alleged mistreatment of Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang province, which despite being quickly disowned by Arsenal still had damaging commercial consequences for the club.
China’s state broadcaster, CCTV, responded by dropping coverage of Arsenal’s Premier League game against Manchester City the following day, while Ozil’s comments were condemned by the Chinese foreign ministry and the Chinese FA.
He was removed from Chinese editions of the Pro Evolution Soccer video game and his profile was erased from the social media platform Weibo, on which he had four million followers.
Arsenal retain a significant commercial presence in China, where the club own a restaurant chain and have an official lottery partner and vehicle provider, which has strengthened Ozil’s conviction that he has been singled out.
Ozil appeared at pains to avoid criticising coach Mikel Arteta, but was scathing towards the club.
‘Upon signing my contract in 2018, I pledged my loyalty and allegiance to the club that I love, Arsenal, and it saddens me that this has not been reciprocated,’ Ozil said. ‘As I have just found out, loyalty is hard to come by nowadays. I can promise you that this hard decision won’t change anything in my mindset.’
The £42m signing started Arteta’s first 10 Premier League matches in charge last season, but has not played since May 7 and will now train with the Under 23s after being omitted from Arsenal’s first-team squads. ‘I will continue to train as best as I can and wherever possible use my voice against inhumanity and for justice,’ he added.
Arteta said: ‘What I can say from my side is that it is a football decision. My conscience is very calm because I have been really fair with him.
‘I have to be the one getting the best out of the players. It is my responsibility. It is nothing related to any behaviour or, like I read, the pay cuts.
‘It’s my decision. If someone has to (be blamed) blame me. Here I feel at the moment that I have failed.’
It is reported that at least one million Uighurs have been detained in camps by Chinese authorities since 2017. After initially denying the camps’ existence, China insists that these are ‘re-education centres’.
Uighurs have claimed that they were interrogated, beaten and tortured because of their religion, and there are allegations that women have been sterilised.
China claims that many Uighurs are extremists, separatists and terrorists.