Mainz suspended Anwar El Ghazi on Wednesday evening after he “took a position on the ongoing conflict in the Middle East”.
El Ghazi, who only joined Mainz in September, angered the Bundesliga club by sharing a pro-Palestine post on his Instagram story. Israel is currently at war with Hamas.
The former Aston Villa winger deleted the post, but Mainz have still acted. A statement read: “Mainz 05 releases Anwar El Ghazi from training and games. The exemption is a response to a now-deleted social media post by the 28-year-old on Sunday evening.
“In this, El Ghazi had taken a position on the conflict in the Middle East that was intolerable for the club. The release was preceded by a detailed discussion between the board and the player.
“Mainz 05 respects that there are different perspectives on the complex Middle East conflict that has been going on for decades. However, the club clearly distances itself from the content of the post as it does not reflect the values of our club.”
Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,300 people. Israel has responded with air strikes on Gaza – with a hospital and a school hit – killing thousands more. Israel has also blocked supplies of food, water, fuel and electricity to Gaza.
El Ghazi appeared to make his feelings known on the conflict by sharing a post that accused Israel of using AI pictures to spread misinformation, censoring content on social media, genocide and mass destruction. Israel would reject all these claims.
El Ghazi, who has represented the Netherlands twice at senior international level, joined Mainz in September following spells with Ajax, Lille, Villa, Everton and PSV. He completed the transfer after being linked with a move to Manchester United.
It’s believed Erik ten Hag was considering turning to El Ghazi after falling out with Jadon Sancho. The England international was dropped by Ten Hag in September following a public spat and is yet to be reintegrated into the first-team squad.