German FA president Reinhard Grindel resigns over €6,000 watch
The German football federation president, Reinhard Grindel, resigned on Tuesday, bowing to increasing pressure following allegations of undeclared earnings, the receipt of a luxury watch and general discontent with his leadership.
Grindel, who promised greater transparency after taking over in April 2016, apologized for accepting a watch worth about €6,000 from the Ukrainian businessman Grigoriy Surkis – a Uefa vice president and executive committee member.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I am not greedy and have been dealing with compliance issues for years,” Grindel said in a statement issued by the federation. “Mr Surkis had no financial interest in the DFB. He never asked me for any support, then or after. It was clear at the time that he would not run again for Uefa’s Exco, to which he no longer belongs. There was and is no conflict of interest for me.”
The federation said vice presidents Rainer Koch and Reinhard Rauball would take over on an interim basis until September. Koch and Rauball also took over after Grindel’s predecessor, Wolfgang Niersbach, stepped down in November 2015 amid the fallout from allegations that Germany’s bid to host the World Cup in 2006 was helped by bribery. Niersbach’s predecessor, Theo Zwanziger, stepped down in 2012.
Grindel’s tenure as president was the shortest in the 114 years of the federation. On Monday, the 47-year-old Grindel avoided the red carpet at the opening of the German football museum in Dortmund. Grindel was accused by German weekly magazine Der Spiegel last week of failing to declare additional income of €78,000 for being chairman of the federation’s
subsidiary media management company in 2016 and 2017 on top of his regular salary as president.
The federation issued a statement to reject the accusations, saying Grindel took on the position with its subsidiary company only after he became president, and so was not obliged to declare the earnings at the time. But criticism of Grindel was growing louder.