May 12 – Time appears to have caught up with German football chief Fritz Keller who has offered to step down after sparking a wave of criticism for comparing his colleague to a notorious Nazi judge.
Keller likened DFB vice-president Rainer Koch to Roland Freisler, the infamous head of the Nazi party’s court in the 1940s.
Freisler was also a participant at 1942’s Wannsee Conference, where it was decided that 11 million Jews should be sent to death camps.
The latest crisis plunged the hierarchy of German football’s administration into fresh chaos reminiscent of past scandals.
Keller admitted he made a “serious mistake” but until now had been reluctant to step down despite losing a vote of confidence among the regional associations last weekend.
But the pressure has now told ahead of a special tribunal hearing into the affair being held next week.
“President Fritz Keller in a decision he took himself has declared his principal readiness to step down from his position as president after the end of the process at the DFB sports court on Monday May 17,” the DFB said in a statement, following an emergency board meeting.
Keller is the fourth consecutive DFB president to be tarnished by scandal.He was regarded as a much-needed safe pair of hands when he took over in September 2019, after Reinhard Grindel was forced to step down for accepting a luxury watch as a gift from a Ukrainian businessman.
That followed the demise of both Wolfgang Niersbach and Theo Zwanziger who were both caught up in the infamous 2006 World Cup payment scandal.
The DFB’s General Secretary Friedrich Curtius will also be leaving his post, with Koch and fellow vice president Peter Peters acting as interim presidents until early 2022 when the DFB holds its general meeting.
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