Fritz Keller, who referred the German Football Federation (DFB) executive to a Nazi-era judge last month, resigned from his post as the President on Monday.
There were widespread calls about his resignation after he compared the DFB vice-president Rainer Koch to Roland Freisler, an infamous Nazi Party head in the 1940s, during the course of a meeting organized by the Federation on April 23.
Freisler was one of the main figures who started the Holocaust. Later he went on to become the president of the People’s Court. After rising to his position, he had given 2600 death sentences the Nazi regime opponents.
The 64-year-old later apologized to Koch, but he did not accept that. As a result, German Football’s state and regional governing bodies with a vote of no confidence in Keller’s leadership.
In a statement released on Monday, Keller said that he faced stiff resistance and hurdles at every step as he tried to bring professionalism and modernism into the federation.
“As announced, I am making my position as President available for a profound and necessary new beginning in the spirit of the German Football Association,”
“I am personally taking responsibility for my comments in the meeting on April 23, 2021, the sad low point of the leadership situation of the DFB.
“My misconduct occurred in an environment that was shameful for the DFB, but my resignation will not solve the problems within the DFB and football.”his statement read.
This incident has now given everyone a clear idea about the fierce power struggle between Keller and his subordinates. The federation was already going through a crisis in recent years. As a result, Keller has now joined the list of the three DFB Presidents who left office before him in the midst of a scandal.
Reinhard Grindel, Keller’s predecessor, had also stepped down after he was alleged of undeclared earnings and taking watch as a gift. Grindel had also served terms as the UEFA vice-president and as a member of the ruling FIFA Council.
Last October, a number of prosecutors raided the DFB offices and the private residences of six unnamed officials on suspicion of tax evasion. The six executives were accused of committing tax evasion worth €7.4 million while former federation presidents Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst Schmidt were forced out because of allegations of corruption related to Germany’s 2006 World Cup bid last year.
“The DFB has to change. It has to regain its credibility, confidence in its integrity and its strength.”Keller added in his statement.
Keller’s resignation has had some aftereffects as well. DFB General secretary Friedrich Curtius is all set to resign, whereas Koch and Stephan Osnabruegge, treasurer, will not put themselves up for re-election in 2022. The federation confirmed these developments last week.
In the absence of Keller, the DFB have announced Koch and another vice president Peter Peters as joint interim presidents. Their tenures are expected to last only for the transitional period.
“The conference of Presidents of the regional and state associations disapproves of the comparison made by DFB President Fritz Keller between first vice-president Rainer Koch and Nazi judge Roland Freisler,”
“The presidents of the state and regional associations of the German Football Association withdrew their confidence in President Fritz Keller at the extraordinary conference this weekend in Potsdam and asked him to step down from his position.”DFB said in their official statement.
Joachim Low, who served as the coach of the German national football team for 15 years, has already decided to call time on his tenure after the upcoming Euros. According to the latest reports, Germany are pursuing Bayern head coach Hansi Flick as Low’s successor.