By Andrew Warshaw
December 19 – Former German football supremo Wolfgang Niersbach has conceded defeat by agreeing to step down from his senior posts at FIFA and UEFA after failing to win his appeal against his one-year ban.
Niersbach, a member of the FIFA Council and UEFA executive committee, was suspended last summer for ethics breaches over his failure to report possible misconduct concerning the awarding of the 2006 FIFA World Cup to Germany.
The 66-year-old, who had played a prominent role in the bid and organising committee and rose to become head of the German federation, had his appeal against the ban rejected by FIFA’s appeals panel last week and has now agreed to give up his seat at the top table of both FIFA and UEFA.
“I have decided not to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport but rather take a personal decision to give up my positions,” Niersbach said. “I am still on the FIFA Council until 2019, but … I will resign immediately. ”
Niersbach says he has informed the German FA (DFB) as well as FIFA President Gianni Infantino and UEFA General Secretary Theodore Theodoridis about his decision.
Niersbach’s mandate on the UEFA exco would have run out anyway in the spring of 2017 but UEFA will now have to decide, at its congress in april, who to elect in his place on the FIFA Council, with his DFB successor, Reinhard Grindel, the favourite. “This place should not be left unoccupied in the face of many important issues,” Niersbach said.
Niersbach is also under investigation in both Germany and Switzerland over his role in the 2006 scandal which was prompted by a €6.7 million payment alleged to have been a secret slush fund to buy votes but which German authorities insist was a return of a loan from former Adidas owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus.
“The decision is very hard for me because I was firmly convinced that I would be able to achieve a significant reduction in my suspension,” said Niersbach: “I remain in my assessment that the judgment of the Ethics Committee was completely excessive.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org