News : German Football Association: Hydra’s new heads – sport
A few weeks ago, the top of the German Football Association got into a tight spot. A top personnel suddenly had to be filled because national coach Joachim Löw announced his departure in the summer. The field of candidates was very clear. But then all kinds of circumstances came together so happily that the DFB in Hansi Flick got a more than satisfactory personel.
Now, since a crisis meeting on Tuesday evening and the announced withdrawal of Fritz Keller, German football has already occupied a top position again. This time it’s about the presidency, and two things are clear: The situation is far more complicated than when looking for a coach – and a seemingly perfect solution like Flick is not in sight.
The situation on the executive floor of the DFB is disastrous. A power struggle has been raging there for months, which not only costs Keller his job, but also Secretary General Friedrich Curtius and Treasurer Stephan Osnabrügge. The latter will no longer run for the next Bundestag. For the third time in six years, there is a change in leadership: Wolfgang Niersbach (2012-2015), Reinhard Grindel (2016-2019) and now Keller failed early for various reasons. The wear and tear is thus close to that of the top staff of the SPD. Politics, business and the public are upset and demand that football now has to reposition itself thoroughly and in essence. However, all course-setting leads back to the past.
“Interim” takes a long time
In the crisis meeting of the presidium on Tuesday, the decision was made as to how it should continue after Keller’s resignation, which is scheduled for next week: League representative Peter Peters, 58, and the top amateur vice-president Rainer Koch, 62, are to “temporarily act as interim presidents with equal rights organize the transition of the association in order to bring the association together with the presidium into calm waters as quickly as possible “. Koch then leads the association for the third time on a transitional basis, after a few months in 2015/16 and 2019. However, “interim” is a deceptive term. The next Bundestag is not due to take place until the beginning of 2022, so the transition period will be at least eight months. That is a lot of time to create facts and to direct things according to your own taste – and there is a lot of that right now.
Peters and Koch are also German representatives on the boards of international bodies: the former in the world association FIFA, the latter in the European Union Uefa. But at the same time both are severely damaged. The former Schalke CFO Peters, jointly responsible for the downfall of the traditional club, was recently not even allowed to run for the Gelsenkirchen supervisory board. The question arises as to how long he can continue to serve as chairman of the supervisory board of the German Football League (DFL). The top job alone allows him the interim leadership at the DFB – although he no longer represents a club. Koch, in turn, has completely lost it with the professional, whom he blames for the breakdown; at the same time, trust in him is also waning among the independent part of the amateur base.
Koch is at the center of all excitement. Like his outgoing combatants Curtius / Osnabrügge, he is a suspect in criminal tax proceedings, and he plays an opaque role in the affair of the well-paid contract for the media consultant Kurt Diekmann, whom he has known for a long time. “Hydra” is the name of the prospecting work initiated by the DFB trio in-house, which originally dealt with irregularities in the relationship with the long-term marketer Infront; the advisor should help medially. Whereby it is in the dark what importance an extremely expensive media consultation should have. The processes surrounding the “Hydra” order are so mysterious that internal and external auditors sounded the alarm. More education is needed. So far, Keller had embodied the corrective at the top of the management board. Because that is no longer applicable, it has a special taste when the DFB speaks of “calm waters” with a view to the interim period.
The question is where Koch is steering the event. On Tuesday he ruled out a few things: He no longer wants to run as the first amateur vice-runner in the Bundestag, nor does he want to be a member of the executive committee – so he no longer wants to sit on the presidential committee. But he wants to remain a member of the Presidium; otherwise his Uefa office could be gone. And what he has not explicitly ruled out: that he would be elected as the new president.
First names like Rummenigge are mentioned. But they are not very realistic
Could a situation be created in which he could be called? The search for candidates is only just beginning, the office has suffered extremely. Prominent names like Karl-Heinz Rummenigge are mentioned, but that’s as likely as Lothar Matthäus’ freestyle as national coach. At the same time, it is about the structure of the DFB top and what profile the new president should have. There are very divergent interests in football, for example between professionals and amateurs. In the near future, key questions will arise, such as the conclusion of the basic contract that regulates the financial flows between the DFB and the league, which in the past was in favor of the professionals. In addition, the profitable parts of the association such as the national team will be outsourced to a GmbH in 2022.
Even before Keller’s freestyle there was an intense dispute about the structures. In particular, but not only, representatives of the league urged that the Presidium should only be a kind of supervisory board. The camp around Koch fought against this. The result was a mixture in which the President surrendered competencies, but still had to remain liable for decisions. That went wrong; Keller recently pointed out to the ethics committee in writing that it would not work in the current constellation.
What the DFB of the future will look like is now being worked out under the direction of two people who stand for yesterday: Koch and Peters. How did Greek mythology describe the monster Hydra that gave its name to the project that is now causing everything to explode at the DFB? If one head is cut off, two more will grow back.