DFB chief Keller faces resignation after vote of no-confidence

By Florian Luetticke, Ulrike John and Jan Mies, dpa

The presidents of Germany’s regional football bodies have asked the nation’s football federation (DFB) president Fritz Keller to resign after he compared DFB vice president Rainer Koch with Nazi judge Rudolf Freisler in a recent meeting.

A statement on the DFB website on Sunday said a vote of no-confidence on Keller from the regional bosses ended 26-9, with two abstentions; and general secretary Friedrich Curtius lost a similar vote.

Koch and treasurer Stephan Osnabruegge meanwhile won votes of confidence at the meeting in Potsdam near Berlin.

Sunday’s meeting named Keller’s Nazi analogy “completely unacceptable” and it “is condemned in the strongest possible terms.

“The regional and state associations of the DFB stand for a democratic, tolerant and diverse society. The President’s statement is incompatible with the principles and values of the associations.”

The statement said the meeting gave Keller and Curtius time to consider their next steps in the wake of the votes of no confidence. Both were present at the meeting.

The DFB has been bogged down in a long-standing power struggle between the Keller and Curtius camps.

Curtius has called on the DFB ethics committee to investigate Keller’s Nazi analogy which has been condemned widely in the country.

Keller addressed his staff in an emotional letter but has said he won’t resign.

Freisler attended the Wannsee Conference, which set in motion the Holocaust. Later, he was appointed president of the People’s Court, where he handed down around 2,600 death sentences from 1942 to 1945.

The DFB, the largest single sports federation in the world with more than 7 million members, has been scandal ridden for years, most notably concerning the affair around dubious payments in connection with Germany’s hosting of the 2006 World Cup.

Wolfgang Niersbach resigned as DFB president in 2015 over the World Cup affair, and his successor Reinhard Grindel in 2019 over accepting an expensive watch. Keller is Grindel’s successor and his term now seems over as well after Sunday’s vote.

The Bild am Sonntag paper reported that the DFB works council in an internal letter said the federation has been giving a “disastrous image” lately and called for “trend-setting decisions.”

“When starting over, both structural and personal consequences cannot be ruled out,” the letter reportedly said.

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