German FA panel to investigate president over Nazi remark

In this file photo taken September 27, 2019 president of the German football federation DFB, Fritz Keller attends a press conference in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. — AFP pic
In this file photo taken September 27, 2019 president of the German football federation DFB, Fritz Keller attends a press conference in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. — AFP pic

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BERLIN, May 4 — Embattled German Football Association president Fritz Keller has been ordered to explain to the governing body’s disciplinary committee the comparison he made of his own deputy to a notorious Nazi-era judge.

Keller sparked outrage and calls for his resignation after likening DFB vice-president Rainer Koch to Roland Freisler, the infamous head of the Nazi party’s court in the 1940s, during a meeting last month.

Yesterday, the DFB’s ethics committee brought the case before their sports court, who will hear Keller’s explanation behind closed doors, either in person or a written statement.

“I will, of course, take responsibility for my statement before the (DFB) sports court,” Keller, 64, told German daily Bild.

Hans E. Lorenz, chairman of the three-man DFB sports court, told AFP subsidiary SID that he expects a judgement “in the second half of May”.

On Sunday, the presidents of the DFB’s regional associations, which run Germany’s semi-professional and amateur leagues, said Keller had lost a vote of confidence and been “asked to step down from his position”.

DFB general secretary Friedrich Curtius was likewise asked to vacate his role after losing a confidence vote.

Keller has apologised to Koch, acknowledging that his words were “totally inappropriate, notably towards the victims of Nazism”, but ruled out stepping down over the incident. — AFP

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