DFB and DFL: Fritz Keller and Christian Seifert as new playmaker

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The chief diplomat is leaving, and the tone in the German Football League (DFL) is sharper: This is only one result of an eventful day in Berlin, which has changed the power structure in German football sustainable. Reinhard Rauball, 72, said goodbye to the General Assembly of all clubs in the first and second Bundesliga after a twelve-year DFL presidency. He earned a standing ovation, a gold pin and a personal laudatory speech from Bayern boss Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, who praised Rauball's achievements, his charm, his diplomacy.

The fact that Rauball dominates the nuances, he showed at the DFL meeting in a Berlin Edelhotel: "The DFL has its own profile," he said in his speech, "without scandals, credible, close to the people." A warm sentence, which unfolded its peak only through the contrast to the German Football Association (DFB): scandalous, implausible, raptured from the base, all this is currently being blamed for the crisis-ridden DFB. Rauball leads the association provisionally after the resignation of President Reinhard Grindel, together with the Vice President Rainer Koch.


Reinhard Rauball (l.) Thanked for the laudatory speech by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (r.)


Andreas Gora / DPA
Reinhard Rauball (l.) Thanked for the laudatory speech by Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (r.)

Seifert criticizes the DFB

Both associations are currently undergoing change, getting new structures and a new management. It's about power in German football, a lot of money and its distribution. On Wednesday, the leadership formed for these challenges. Especially Christian Seifert, the old strong man and the new even stronger man of the DFL, did not agree with any raffia nuances. But spoke plain text.

In recent years, the DFB has "significantly lost influence and significance in the European and international associations Uefa and Fifa," Seifert said after the meeting. A DFB president is on the international scene to make networks and forge coalitions with other countries. Their representatives should be able to rely on the German position – "that was not the case in recent years," said Seifert. It was a second-leg kick-off against Grindel, whose resignation Seifert had bluntly shown little regret.

That was not planned

Under the new DFB leadership should finally come to rest. She wears the benevolently smiling face of the Freiburg club president Fritz Keller, who was nominated on Wednesday by both the DFB national associations and the DFL representatives as the new DFB president. "The task was not in my life planning," said Keller, and it hurt him, after 25 years at his club in favor of the DFB shorten. "But football is worth it," said the 62-year-old.


Fritz Keller is a winemaker, the DFB presidency was not calculated


Patrick Seeger / DPA
Fritz Keller is a winemaker, the DFB presidency was not calculated

Under Keller, the office should change, he should not bear the sole responsibility. Rainer Koch tried a football metaphor to describe Kellers job: The DFB need a playmaker in the midfield, the balls and keep the overview. Keller should not rush like a striker in the duels in the box. Keller will therefore only play a cautious role in the operative business. And Koch should maintain international contacts instead of the president.

The "evil" of the DFB

When this new role of the DFB President had become known in recent days, there had been criticism of the alleged disempowerment and the DFB President as Grüßonkel. This used DFL chief Seifert to rumble about the old DFB: He could not understand this discussion at all. The time of the "autocracy, of the top down durchregierens with an iron hand" is now over. "I really think that was one of the evils in recent years," said Seifert.

The 50-year-old is fighting for attention in the international competition of top football for the German league. He can not use DFB disputes, and he can afford clear words, because his power in German football is greater than ever. Because Reinhard Rauball not only resigned – he took the office of DFL president with the same. In the future, Seifert, managing director of DFL GmbH and, at the same time, speaker of the DFL e.V. acts as the highest representative of the club association. This means that "operational responsibility and communicative representation to the outside are in one hand", it said in a DFL communication.

With the union of the 36 professional clubs Seifert now even has both hands full. The ceremonial and mostly unanimous votes for Bureau, Deputies and committee members were overshadowed this time by a power struggle. The CEO of Borussia Dortmund, Hans-Joachim Watzke, had resigned on the eve of the meeting annoyed his candidacy, apparently because he faced a front of medium-sized clubs. In Berlin, he rushed away before the end of the event. Just had to remain Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, head of Bayern Munich, Watzke defend.


When Hans-Joachim Watzke (left) met Lothar Matthäus (r.), He was still in a good mood


Annegret Hilse / REUTERS
When Hans-Joachim Watzke (left) met Lothar Matthäus (r.), He was still in a good mood

Anger for the middle class football clubs

That "16 or 17 clubs" had previously met and discussed, they had "of course gone on the nerves," said Rummenigge on the sidelines of the event. "I've never experienced that since the founding of the DFL." He regrets that Watzke did not stand for election. "Maybe I should have asked him more intensively." He urged the "middle class" coalition of clubs like Hamburger SV and Hertha BSC to "return quickly to the circle of all and not to separate". Seifert said the DFL house should show inner unity. "As it has been in the last few weeks, it can not go on."

At the latest when the question of the distribution of funds from TV revenue will show whether the "middle class" coalition can wrest concessions from the big clubs from Dortmund and Munich. It will take until then. First, the DFB Bundestag is approaching, where Fritz Keller is expected to be elected by at least an overwhelming majority to the presidency – matching his motto: "Only together we can."



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