DOHA – Former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Wednesday Mesut Ozil must "accept the consequences" of criticizing China's treatment of its Uighur Muslims, but he defended the star midfielder's right to express an opinion.
Ozil, a German Muslim of Turkish origin signed by Wenger in 2013, posted messages on Twitter and Instagram last week calling minority Uighurs "warriors who resist persecution".
China's foreign ministry said Ozil had been deceived by fake news as the country's Twitter-like Weibo platform erupted with angry messages, some calling for the London club to sack their highest-paid player.
Wenger told reporters in Doha he did not know if there would be a long-term impact for Ozil.
"I don't think the situation is definite, that can change very quickly, and although I don't know the situation well overall, Ozil made a comment and after, when you make a comment about your individual opinion, you accept the consequences of it," Wenger said.