German FA president (DFB) Fritz Keller departed, saying the association should “change” on Monday as he officially resigned over comments comparing his deputy to a notorious Nazi-era judge. “I am leaving my post as chairman so that the DFB can make a far-reaching and necessary new start,” Keller said in a lengthy statement on the federation’s website after announcing his plan to step down last week. Accepting “personal responsibility” for his controversial remarks, the late president also criticized the “desolate leadership position” in the scandal-hit federation and called for sweeping reforms.
“The DFB will have to change. It will have to win back confidence in its credibility and its integrity,” he said, adding that his resignation “will not solve the problems inside football and the DFB”.
Keller resented and demanded his resignation after comparing DFB Vice President Rainer Koch to the notorious head of the Nazi party’s court in the 1940s, Roland Freisler, during a meeting last month.
The 64-year-old later apologized to the coach, admitting that his words were “completely inappropriate, especially towards victims of Nazism”, and after confronting the DFB tribunal to explain his comments, officially But left the post on Monday.
The scandal also exposed that there was a fierce power struggle between Keller and his deputies in a federation, which has moved from crisis to crisis in recent years.
In his statement on Monday, Keller said that since taking office in 2019, his efforts to modernize and professionalize the federation were met with “resistance and walls at every step”.
Keller’s resignation appears to have paved the way for the mass expulsion of top DFB officials.
The federation said last week that Secretary-General Frederick Curtius is also set to resign, while coach and treasurer Stephen Osnabruig will not put himself up for re-election in 2022.
The change of guard in the boardroom comes with DFB already in the midst of a turmoil in its game leadership.
With longtime German coach Joachim Löw stepping down after the upcoming European Championship, DFB is in the midst of talks to appoint Bayern Munich owner Hansi Flick as his successor.
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