Bundesliga club Mainz sacked footballer Anwar El Ghazi on Friday, hours after German prosecutors opened an investigation over his social media posts on the Israel-Hamas war.
Mainz tweeted they were “ending the contractual relationship with Anwar El Ghazi and terminated the player with immediate effect”.
Mainz also clarified in a statement that they were “taking this action in response to the player’s statements and posts on social media”.
Earlier on Friday, German prosecutors said the Dutch footballer is suspected of “disturbing public peace by condoning criminal acts in conjunction with incitement to hatred” through his message on Instagram.
El Ghazi had shared several posts on social media early in the conflict, including one that carried the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” — a slogan interpreted by some as a call for the destruction of Israel, while others say it appeals for equality for Israelis and Palestinians.
El Ghazi was suspended by Mainz on October 17 over the post but the club later said the player could return after he “explicitly distanced himself” from the statements.
But El Ghazi on Wednesday took to social media again to say “I do not regret or have any remorse for my position.
“Any other statements, comments or apologies to the contrary attributed to me are not factually correct and have not been made or authorised by me.”
Mainz had reacted to the latest salvo with “surprise and incomprehension”, saying they will “examine the matter legally and then evaluate it”.
El Ghazi was signed on September 22 by Mainz and played just 51 minutes in total for the club in three matches.
Israel launched a massive retaliatory assault against Gaza’s Hamas rulers after its fighters carried out the October 7 attack which Israeli officials say killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians.
More than 9,200 people have been killed in Gaza, the health ministry in the Hamas-run territory said.