Football Live Update: Bernd Neuendorf, a former politician, was elected as the next president of the German Football Association on Friday (DFB). Fritz Keller, who resigned in May 2021 amid a scandal after comparing his deputy to a renowned Nazi-era judge, is succeeded by the 60-year-old. Prior to then, there had been a months-long power struggle at the top, culminating in the resignation of general secretary Friedrich Curtius. At a gathering in Bonn, Neuendorf was unanimously elected. After years of tumultuous controversies, he urged for unity in the German Football Association. He explained, “We have to keep the shop together.”
“Anyone who opposes the cultural shift will find me to be a vehement opponent.”
Neuendorf faces a difficult task in restoring the image of Germany’s largest sports organisation, which has over seven million members.
In the midst of scandals, three of his most recent predecessors resigned.
Reinhard Grindel, who preceded Keller, resigned in 2019 after three contentious years.
When Mesut Ozil retired from international duty in 2018, he singled out Grindel, accusing him of supervising a culture of institutional racism.
After receiving harsh criticism for taking an expensive watch from a Ukrainian oligarch, Grindel finally stepped down the following year.
Wolfgang Niersbach, who preceded him, resigned in 2015 over allegations that the DFB used slush cash to secure the right to host the 2006 World Cup in 2000.
Neuendorf began his career in media before moving into politics in 2003.
He was a spokesperson for Germany’s Social Democratic Party and served as state secretary in North Rhine-family Westphalia’s ministry for five years beginning in 2012.
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