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Thursday, May 19, 2022

DFB elects new president: Peter Peters vs. Bernd Neuendorf: The unequal duel for power – sport

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The current sports studio has long since lost the splendor of previous decades. But even if the show only starts shortly before witching hour, it’s still an important platform for people who want to get a message across. Peter Peters, who wants to be elected interim president of the German Football Association (DFB) this Friday, probably thought the same.

Almost two weeks have passed since Peters was invited to the gym. However, if he had the goal of promoting himself and putting him there, then he went crazy. Peters made less of a presidential impression than a pathetic one. He responded to moderator Jochen Breyer’s greeting (“Welcome”) with a “Welcome,” he swayed nervously in his chair, seemed flustered, and was vague at best when asked specific questions about his show.

Peters’s prospects of being elected president of the DFB were not good before. Since his visit to the gym, they no longer exist.

Since the appearance in the sports studio, Peter Peters’s chances of becoming the new president of the DFB have been eliminated.Photo: imago images/Martin Hoffmann

That’s because there will be a first in the association’s 122-year history on Friday. The DFB is known for the fact that controversial issues are discussed in advance in the back room and then only the green voting cards are shown in the Bundestag plenary session. But this Friday in Bonn, for the first time, two candidates will compete for the presidency. On the one hand Peter Peters, 59, former finance chief of FC Schalke 04. And Bernd Neuendorf, 60, president of the Middle Rhine Football Association, former journalist and politician.

Not even Oliver Bierhoff knew Neuendorf

Neuendorf remains largely unknown to the general public. Even Oliver Bierhoff, coach of the national team and member of the DFB executive committee, had to admit in the autumn that he did not even know the potential candidate at the time. However, there is not the slightest doubt about choosing him as the successor to Fritz Keller, who resigned in May 2021. The candidate is largely sure of the support of the so-called fan representatives, and the Berlin Football Association will also vote. for him. And even the professional field is by no means united behind Peters. 1. FC Köln, for example, have already announced that they will vote for Neuendorf.

After Peters was put forward as a candidate, Der Spiegel wrote smugly: “The association is used to rivets, but there is still resistance.” The impression that Peters is unsuited for the job has since grown. It is said that in the presentation rounds, he was aggressive and unconvincing in terms of content.

And Peters’ visit to the Sport1 double pass last fall is also legendary. Andreas Rettig, a former member of the board of directors of the German Football League (DFL), answered the phone and asked: “I would be interested to know what qualifies you, Peter, for the position of president. It can’t have been the job at Schalke 04 “.

Peters was responsible for Schalke’s finances for a quarter of a century. The fact that the club crept perilously close to ruin during this time was, of course, no less his fault. But that would probably overestimate Peters’ influence. The decisive factor in the decline was the megalomania of the Chairman of the Board of Directors, Clemens Tönnies. Nearly two years ago, Peters resigned from his job as Schalke’s chief financial officer, of his own free will, he says, because Tönnies wanted to get rid of him, his critics say.

“Peter Peters represents the former DFB”

At Schalke, Peters always had a reputation for never fighting a war he couldn’t win, says someone who knows him well from that time. His candidacy for the presidency of the DFB is even more surprising. The prospect of success was slim from the start, even if Peters tried to position himself as an innovator in the partnership, which was riddled with feuds and intrigue. It is questionable whether he will be stripped of this role. “For me, Peter Peters represents to some extent the old DFB, from which to a large extent we should separate and free ourselves,” says Bernd Schultz, president of the Berlin Football Association.

Unlike Peters, who was a member of the DFB executive committee for years as a representative of the DFL, Bernd Neuendorf has not had a dark past. He has only held a management position as president of the Mittelrhein Association since 2019. “Bernd Neuendorf wants a completely new start,” says Schultz. Former colleagues describe the DFB president-designate as calm and considerate, alert and funny. However, the tasks would be enormous: the new president will be the fifth in just ten years. The DFB had so many in the period from the end of World War II until 2012.

Bernd Neuendorf has yet to distinguish himself.Photo: imago/PR images

Like Peters, Neuendorf, born in Düren, began his professional career as a journalist. He worked as a parliamentary correspondent in Bonn and then went into politics. Neuendorf was spokesman for the SPD at a time when a certain Olaf Scholz was general secretary. He later he became State Secretary in North Rhine-Westphalia. “He is very, very well connected,” says Bernd Schultz. And he’s presumably quite familiar with the intrigues of his time in politics. However, some think that he may underestimate the task at the DFB.

Neuendorf’s sweet spot could be Rainer Koch. For many, the first vice president of the DFB is the personification of evil. Just this week, the three former presidents Theo Zwanziger, Reinhard Grindel and Fritz Keller called on the delegates: “End the Koch system and ensure a real new start in the DFB.”

Will Rainer Koch keep pulling the strings?

While Peters has ruled out further collaboration with Koch, Neuendorf has so far avoided such an engagement.

This has led to the assumption that Koch will continue to pull the strings, which Neuendorf will then play with in the future. True to the motto: I don’t care who is president under me. “Actually we no longer live in the age of myths and legends,” Neuendorf told the “Frankfurter Rundschau”. “These reports are completely unfounded.”


But the fact is that Neuendorf has already stated that he does not want to occupy the international positions currently occupied by the DFB until the end of the legislature in three years; Therefore, Rainer Koch would remain a member of the UEFA Executive Committee. Like Peter Peters he should keep his seat on the FIFA Council.

But it is also a fact that Koch will no longer be running for the position of first vice president and therefore will definitely no longer be a member of the Executive Board. Koch is only running for a position as a simple vice president, at the suggestion of the South German Association, to which 45 percent of the DFB members belong. Therefore, the future president does not decide whether Rainer Koch will continue to have an influential position in the association. This is primarily decided by the delegates in the DFB Bundestag.

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