BERLIN (Reuters) – The designated president of the German football association (DFB), Fritz Keller, said on Wednesday he will not take over international positions or run the DFB as a one-man show, after getting the backing of professional and amateur associations.
Keller, who has been chairman of Bundesliga side Freiburg since 2010, was the only name put forward by a DFB commission in charge of finding a new head of the seven million-member association earlier this month.
He will still need to be elected on Sept. 27.
“In the future it will not be a one-man show. There will be tasks on different shoulders who will each be responsible. There is no other way,” he told a news conference. “We have to work together.”
His predecessor Reinhard Grindel stepped down in April after coming under pressure over income he received from a DFB subsidiary and a watch he had been given by Ukrainian businessman and soccer administrator Grigory Surkis.
Grindel, who sat on the executive boards of the European association UEFA and global soccer body FIFA, was the third consecutive DFB president to be embroiled in a scandal.
His predecessors Wolfgang Niersbach and Theo Zwanziger were indicted in Switzerland earlier this month over a payment related to the hosting of the 2006 World Cup.
The DFB is now hoping Keller, who became a Freiburg vice president back in 1991, can again steady the ship.
“This task was not part of my lifeplan,” Keller said. “I am and was happy with what I did in Freiburg with my colleagues and my family business. But football is worth it.
“I see my work on a national level. I do not want to be in bodies such as FIFA and UEFA. This is a 24-7 job, a full-time job.”
Keller said DFB Vice President Rainer Koch would take over the international roles.
“I do not want to miss being able to go to watch a local game or go eat a sausage or go watch a top match,” he added.
Keller got the unanimous backing from all first and second division clubs. He also got 37 of 38 votes from local and regional associations, with one association chief absent.
Small-budget club Freiburg have been known for their no-nonsense approach to the game, playing an exciting brand of football while also producing scores of talented players who have moved on to join bigger clubs.
Keller, an entrepreneur in the field of wine and gastronomy, has been a member of the German football league (DFL) supervisory board since 2016.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge)