German Football Association (DFB) head, Reinhard Grindel on Thursday spoke on the retirement of Mesut Ozil.
Ozil, who plays for English Premier League club Arsenal, had cited “racism and disrespect” over his Turkish roots after he quit.
He also accused Grindel of blaming him for Germany’s group stage elimination from this year’s World Cup, their earliest exit from the tournament in 80 years.
But Grindel rejected Ozil’s accusations of racism against the DFB but said he regretted the photograph had been misused to justify “racist words”.
“In retrospect, as the president I should have clearly said what is obvious for me personally and for us as an association, namely that any form of racism is unbearable, unacceptable and intolerable,” he said in a statement.
“I feel even more sorry for my colleagues, the many volunteers and staff at the DFB to be mentioned in relation to racism
“I decisively reject this — both for me personally and for the association.”
He said he shared the DFB’s values of diversity, solidarity, anti-discrimination and integration and said that during his time at the DFB he had witnessed how football could help integrate people.
Grindel said the DFB would use the integration debate stoked by Ozil’s departure as an opportunity to redouble its integration efforts.
Meanwhile, the ancestral Turkish town of Ozil have honoured him by erecting a new street sign showing him posing with President Tayyip Erdogan.