Little-known Grindel frontrunner to lead German FA

November 18, 2015 2:10 am

By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) – Reinhard Grindel, a Christian Democrat member of parliament and treasurer of the German FA (DFB), was earmarked on Tuesday to take over as president and steer the world’s largest soccer federation out of its current troubles.

“I personally support the candidature of Reinhard Grindel,” interim DFB president Rainer Koch said after meeting with the soccer representatives of Germany’s 21 state federations earlier in the day.

Koch and Reinhard Rauball, who have run the DFB since the resignation of Wolfgang Niersbach last week in relation to an ongoing World Cup 2006 bribery scandal, have ruled themselves out as candidates. Grindel is the only candidate so far and state federations control the majority of votes.

A member of parliament for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party, the 54-year-old Grindel, who became DFB treasurer in 2013, is largely unknown to German football fans.

A TV journalist-turned-politician, Grindel is the deputy head of the parliamentary committee on sport. An election date has yet to be set but Koch told reporters it should happen “as soon as possible”.

The scandal that has already cost Niersbach his job and could see him charged for tax evasion pending an ongoing investigation, has rocked the nation and also tarnished the reputation of Franz Beckenbauer, the country’s iconic former World Cup-winning coach and footballer, who headed the 2006 World Cup organisation in Germany.

Niersbach resigned over a multi-million dollar payment to soccer’s governing body FIFA a year ahead of the finals.

Last month, Der Spiegel magazine alleged that a 6.7 million euro ($7.20 million) transfer to soccer’s governing body was a return on a loan from then Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus to buy votes at a FIFA election in 2000 in favour of Germany’s 2006 World Cup bid.

Niersbach, a vice president of the 2006 organising committee at the time, has denied the claims of a slush fund.

Beckenbauer has also rejected the allegations of a votes-for-cash deal but suspicion has grown with the DFB saying a contract between him and former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, banned from football for life since September, was signed four days before the FIFA vote in 2000.

It offered a series of services, including friendly matches and coaching support to the head of the CONCACAF, the governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean, which Warner headed from 1990 to 2011.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Justin Palmer)

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