BERLIN - German under-21 international Ashkan Dejagah has said he will not play against Israel in Tel Aviv on October 12 for political reasons, Bild newspaper reported on Monday.
Dejagah was born in Tehran and he explained his Iranian roots meant he would not be able to play in Israel.
He said his refusal "had political reasons. Everyone knows I am an Iranian-born German," he said.
The president of the German football federation Theo Zwanziger however criticised Dejagah's stance. "If we start doing things for political reasons, it will be sport itself which loses," Zwanziger said.
The DFB did however agree that he would not play in the qualifying match for the 2009 under-21 European championships.