German FA president resigns over Nazi comments

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German Football Association (DFB) president Fritz Keller has resigned from his position after he made comments comparing his vice president Rainer Koch to a Nazi judge.

Last month, Keller had labelled Koch, a civil judge, as “Freisler”, a reference to Nazi judge Roland Freisler, a participant of the Wannsee conference in 1942 where the Nazis laid out their “final solution.”

In a statement on the DFB’s website, Keller took full responsibility for the comments.

“As announced I step down from the post as president for a deep-rooted and necessary restart,” he said.

“With this I take on the responsibility for my derailment in the board meeting of 23 April that should remain the low point in the desolate leadership situation of the DFB.

“The DFB must change. It must win back credibility, trust in its integrity and performance. Changes should be an important, necessary part of the short-term agenda of the DFB,” added Keller.

Keller’s decision to step down comes at a time of change for the DFB with a number of other people also leaving including general secretary Friedrich Curtius.

Treasurer Stephan Osnabrugge has already announced he will only remain in his position until the next general meeting and Koch, who will now be acting as an interim president alongside German Football League (DFL) representative Peter Peters, is also set to leave his post next year.

Keller’s predecessors, Reinhard Grindel and Wolfgang Niersbach, were both forced out of office in 2019 and 2015 respectively.

The former fell after accepting a luxury watch from a Ukrainian businessman and the latter was caught up in the 2006 World Cup scandal.

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By Ofhani Munyai

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