Mounting pressure sees Grindel exit as DFB president

Reinhard Grindel has today (Tuesday) tendered his resignation as president of the German Football Association (DFB) after coming under increasing pressure following allegations of undeclared earnings, the receipt of a luxury watch and general unhappiness at his leadership.

Grindel was elected as permanent president of the DFB in November 2016 after serving in the role on a caretaker basis since April that year. His mandate had been due to run through 2019, with elections scheduled for September.

DFB vice-presidents Rainer Koch and Reinhard Rauball will now lead the body on an interim basis until elections are held. Grindel today apologised for his actions while maintaining he only discovered the true value of the watch recently.

Grindel accepted the watch, worth around €6,000 ($6,700) from Ukrainian oligarch Hryhoriy Surkis – a Uefa vice-president and executive committee member at the time. He was also accused by German magazine Der Spiegel last week of failing to declare additional income of €78,000 for serving as chairman of the DFB’s media management subsidiary in 2016 and 2017, in addition to his regular salary as president.

Grindel said in a statement: “Everyone who knows me knows that I am not greedy and have been dealing with compliance issues for years. Since the weekend, I know the value of the watch to be €6,000 and therefore yesterday morning we went to our secretary general and our compliance officer and discussed with them the situation.

“Mr. Surkis had no economic interests in connection with the DFB. He never asked for any help before or after. At the time it was already clear that he would not run again for the UEFA ExCo, to which he no longer belongs today. It was, and is for me, no recognisable conflict of interest.

“For me, this was a purely private gift, without any relation to the Ukrainian association or even a business enterprise. It was a courtesy requirement for me to accept this gift.”

Grindel took over the presidency of the DFB from Wolfgang Niersbach, who was forced to resign in November 2015 amid allegations of vote-rigging for Germany’s successful bid for the 2006 World Cup and a payment to world football’s governing body Fifa that led to a separate probe.