After his verbal derailment in the direction of his deputy Rainer Koch as DFB President, Fritz Keller is no longer acceptable. But beyond that, a completely new beginning has to be found. A comment.
Fritz Keller can no longer be saved, at least not as DFB President. After his unspeakable Nazi comparison, the winemaker from southern Baden no longer has any other path than resignation. Even if he still rules out such a step, despite the ongoing and completely justified criticism from all sides.
Keller compared his vice and adversary Koch in the presidium meeting last Friday with the NS judge Roland Freisler, who, as chairman of the notorious People’s Court, was responsible for around 2,600 death sentences in the Hitler dictatorship, according to information in front of around 20 people present. A misstep that can no longer be tolerated.
Keller apologized, but contrary to his assertion, the apparently deeply affected cook, a full-time judge, has not yet accepted the apology.
And even if the President of the Bavarian Football Association should still do it, it can no longer make up for the blatant dropout.
Fritz Keller can no longer represent the DFB
After this unspeakable comparison, it is impossible for Keller to remain a representative of one of the most important institutions in Germany and the largest sports association in the world with more than seven million members.
Any Sunday speeches against anti-Semitism or even the awarding of the Julius Hirsch Prize by the DFB in memory of the German national player of the Jewish faith murdered in Auschwitz have become unthinkable in his current role.
The 64-year-old is of course neither anti-Semite nor right-wing extremist, on the contrary, in the past he has often and credibly spoken out against any kind of racism and other forms of discrimination. But none of that helps, because he can no longer undo his mockery of the Nazi victims out of affect.
Keller failed because of himself, because of his quick-tempered, uncontrolled and sometimes erratic manner, which he was repeatedly accused of as club boss of SC Freiburg and in the first 19 months at the DFB. And he has obviously lost his nerve in the dirty power struggle of the DFB leadership.
All the more sad for him when, in a tough struggle with Koch, General Secretary Friedrich Curtius and Treasurer Stephan Osnabrügge, after the clear backing of the professionals, he had apparently drawn the majority of the amateur representatives to his side. But all this is of no use to him after the Freisler comparison.
In the midst of the pandemic, German football urgently needs a strong, competent and impeccable man at the top in view of high debts, unresolved affairs, youth problems and the national team crisis.
Keller can no longer be this man, but the other candidates from the closest leadership circle have also disqualified themselves for their offices. They could all do one last service to the DFB if they voluntarily clear the way.