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German Chancellor calms storm over locker-room visit

  • AFP, Thursday, October 21, 2010 2:11 AM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had a "clear the air" chat with her country's soccer bosses after her surprise visit to Germany's locker room caused controversy. Merkel's postgame visit with players after their 3-0 victory over Turkey Oct. 8 -- during which she posed for pictures with Germany's star midfielder Mesut Ozil, who has Turkish parents -- annoyed German soccer federation (DFB) president Theo Zwanziger.

Zwanziger complained Merkel's unannounced appearance was an exploitation for political gains.

"The events after the game were certainly not ideal, but in a telephone conversation with the Home Secretary and the Chancellor the day after the game we were able to sort the matter out," Zwanziger told SID. "The matter is now resolved as the Chancellor and I have great trust in each other."

Photos of the Chancellor's meeting were reluctantly released to the media by national coach Joachim Loew, but Zwanziger has said integration issues in soccer should not be exploited by politicians.

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