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Mainz end El Ghazi contract over Israel-Gaza post

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Mainz suspend El Ghazi for ‘unacceptable’ Israel-Gaza post

Dutch winger Anwar El Ghazi has had his contract terminated by Mainz for a social media post about the Israel-Gaza conflict, the club confirmed on Friday.

The 28-year-old was suspended on October 17 by the Bundesliga club after a now-deleted post on social media that was perceived to be pro-Palestinian.

Mainz said his deal was terminated with “immediate effect” on Friday, despite lifting his suspension on Monday.

“‘Stand for what is right, even if it means standing alone’,” El Ghazi said.

In social media posts following the termination of his contract on Friday, El Ghazi added: “The loss of my livelihood is nothing when compared to the hell being unleashed on the innocent and vulnerable in Gaza. #stopthekilling.”

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Mainz said in a statement: “FSV Mainz 05 is ending the contractual relationship with Anwar El Ghazi and terminating 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.”

When lifting the former Everton and Aston Villa player’s suspension on Monday, Mainz said: “Given his commitment to upholding the club’s values and the remorse shown, and in keeping with the club’s culture of using mistakes as an opportunity to learn, Anwar El Ghazi will return to training and matchday-related activities with FSV Mainz 05 soon.”

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

Eugen Salomon, a Jewish man who lost his club membership to the Nazis in 1933, is the name of Mainz’s stadium. Salomon died in the Holocaust in 1942.

An estimated six million Jews perished in the Holocaust, which Nazi Germany carried out during World War Two.

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The club had added on Monday: “El Ghazi has since distanced himself from his post on his Instagram account, which he deleted minutes later, in multiple conversations with the club. He regrets publishing the post and was remorseful about its negative impact, especially on the club as a whole.”

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

Writing on Instagram stories last week, he said, “I condemn the killing of all innocent civilians in Palestine and Israel.

“My sympathies are with the innocent victims of this conflict, irrespective of their nationality. I am committed to a peaceful and integrated Middle Eastern region.

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“To the extent my previous statements on social media have been misunderstood, I would like to make clear that I stand for peace and humanity for all.”

Mainz, who are bottom of the Bundesliga, host RB Leipzig on Saturday (14:30 GMT).

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