Merkel settles dispute over dressing room visit

BERLIN Wed Oct 20, 2010 11:29am EDT

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during a news conference with Romania's Prime Minister Emil Boc (unseen) at Victoria Palace in Bucharest October 12, 2010. REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel gestures during a news conference with Romania's Prime Minister Emil Boc (unseen) at Victoria Palace in Bucharest October 12, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Bogdan Cristel

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BERLIN (Reuters) - German chancellor Angela Merkel has ironed out differences with the country's soccer federation (DFB) following her surprise visit to the national team changing room after a win over Turkey, a government spokesman said.

Merkel went to see the players after their 3-0 victory in a Euro 2012 qualifier in Berlin on October 8 which upset DFB chief Theo Zwanziger who said politicians should stay out of sport.

"All the irritation has been resolved," a government official told reporters Wednesday.

Official pictures showed Merkel chatting with bare-chested players, including midfielder Mesut Ozil who has Turkish roots, alongside German President Christian Wulff and his daughter.

Zwanziger was at the game but not present during the visit.

The government official said Merkel and Zwanziger clarified everything during a subsequent phone call.

The match in Berlin, which has a large Turkish community, attracted more than 40,000 Turkish fans and Ozil, who opted last year to play for Germany instead of Turkey, had been hailed as a shining example of social integration in Germany.

Ozil, who also scored, was jeered by Turkish fans throughout the game.

(Writing by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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