BERLIN: Theo Zwanziger, the lawyer newly-assigned with the role of leading a major revision of the statutes of world federation FIFA, has decided to stand down next October, a year early, as president of the Deutscher Fussball-Bund, the powerful German football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Zwanziger took over as president in the wake of Germany’s successful hosting of the 2006 World Cup. In fact he had effectively ousted long-serving predecessor Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder in 2005 but ‘MV’ was kept on as joint president in a diplomatic gesture acknowledging his service to the domestic game.
A statement from Zwanziger said: “This decision is one which has been under consideration for a long time. There is a certain times where things must come to an end. I have already extended my presidency once, now the time has come.”
Zwanziger became a member of the FIFA executive committee at the start of June as a representative of the European federation (UEFA) in succession to Franz Beckenbauer.
Germany’s national team coach Joachim Low said: “We have always enjoyed great ‘teamwork’ with Mr Zwanziger. We regret this step but also respect his personal decision.”
In fact Zwanziger’s reign has included a potentially damaging row with Low over the renewal of the coach’s contract in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup finals plus a row with vice-president Rainer Koch on top of a string of refereeing scandals including, most recently, allegations of officials evading taxes. Zwanziger has conceded that dealing with these issues on top of his FIFA and UEFA responsibilities had been personally testing.
Early favourite to take over is Erwin Staudt, former president of Stuttgart, who is currently the German league’s representative in the DFB council.