KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Fritz Keller has announced that he has no intention of following DFB presidential predecessors Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Reinhard Grindel on to the governing councils of world federation FIFA or Europe’s UEFA.
Keller was appointed to head the German football federation in September last year, a step which prompted his inevitable resignation as president of Freiburg.
The reputations of Zwanziger and Niersbach were tarnished over a mystery payment in connection with Germany’s hosting of the 2006 World Cup finals even though they escaped fraud charges; Grindel quit the DFB’s top job in April last year over the acceptance of a valuable watch and having given false information about his income.
Keller, as head of Europe’s largest sports association and like his predecessors, would have had little difficulty in being rushed through to membership of the UEFA exco and then to the FIFA council.
However he has made it clear not only that he has no personal wish to enter the controversial inner circle of international football power brokers but that he prefers to be free to criticise from outside the Zurich and Nyon bubbles.
This does not mean that Keller wants the DFB to go unrepresented just that he will not be that man. His preference is to “spread the responsibility across different shoulders.”
Keller, 63, said: “I started with the idea of working in a team. You can no longer run an association like he squire of the manor. As for FIFA we are certainly aiming to take up a mandate for the FIFA Council. We have to discuss who should represent us.”
The DFB needs to come up with a candidate ahead of UEFA’s annual congress in Switzerland next spring.
Keller added that he wished to be free to criticise FIFA if he thought it appropriate.
He said: “For the formation of opinions and a critical approach, it is sometimes better not to be part of a group.”
The name Keller is not an agreeable one for FIFA president Gianni Infantino right now. A Swiss special prosecutor, Stefan Keller (no relation) is running a criminal investigation into meetings in 2016 and 2017 between Infantino and former Attorney General Michael Lauber.