Gençlerbirliği coach Özat under fire for ‘Jewish team’ remarks
Spor Toto Super League club Gençlerbirliği coach Ümit Özat has once again found himself in hot water for his remarks, saying he would never speak badly of a former club “even if it were a Jewish team.”
He made the remarks in a post-game press conference after a 4-0 victory against Sivasspor on Dec. 3.
Özat’s words came after he last week accused “some supporters of Ankaragücü,” another Ankara-based team that he once coached, of chanting against him during a Gençlerbirliği match.
“Last week I said: ‘I guess there are Ankaragücü supporters wearing Gençlerbirliği jerseys.’ I would never speak badly about a team I worked for, even if it were a Jewish team,” he said.
Gençlerbirliği fans, among others, took to social media after the remarks to blast Özat for apparent racism.
This is not the first time the former Fenerbahçe player, who was sacked by Gençlerbirliği in Week 3 of the league but was hired again by the club board two weeks ago despite protests from the club’s fans, used discriminatory remarks.
In September 2012, Özat went on a rant against women during a TV show, claiming that women “cannot understand football” while arguing with presenter Simge Fıstıkoğlu.
“I don’t take women supporters seriously,” Özat said, referring to fans’ criticism of Fenerbahçe coach Aykut Kocaman during the team’s game against Trabzonspor. Due to a penalty decision from the Turkish Football Federation, only women and children were allowed into the stadium as spectators for the match played that week.
“No one in their right mind can say a woman can understand football better than a man. Football is a man’s game. Nowhere in the world outside of Turkey can women discuss football [in the media],” Özat added.