ADuring the weekend, ARD ran a very profound documentary. Title: “On, on and on – Corona. The Bundesliga. The restart ”. In it, protagonists of German football tell how they experienced the past few months after the virus stopped social life in Germany in March and led to the first interruption of the Bundesliga since it was founded in 1963.
Above all, Christian Seifert, head of the German Football League (DFL), had his say and described in detail what happened in the spring when it came to the survival of German football.
The 48-minute film once again showed how much Seifert in particular got involved and acted. But a successor must now be found for the head of the DFL, who has proven himself in the crisis.
The managing director of the umbrella organization of the 36 professional clubs will not renew his contract, which ends on June 30, 2022. “The only clear decision for me is that I will open a new professional chapter,” said Seifert in an interview with BILD.
Seifert came from Karstadt
“These are challenging times that require clarity and reliability. That applies to the DFL as a whole and also to my professional ambitions, ”Seifert had previously communicated. Peter Peters, head of the supervisory board, in turn, let it be known that the supervisory board would approach the new appointment professionally without time pressure and set up a comprehensive process for this purpose.
He confirmed that the change at the top would mean a turning point. “Christian Seifert has done an outstanding job in more than 15 years”, says Peters: “and thus made a significant contribution to the success of the Bundesliga and the 2nd Bundesliga.”
In 2005 Seifert – married and father of two children – came to the DFL. He was previously CEO of KarstadtQuelle New Media AG and initially managing director rights, licenses, marketing. He soon succeeded Wilfried Straub as Chairman of the Management Board. The fact that Seifert doesn’t have a great footballing past didn’t matter then – and certainly not today.
The billionaire dealer
He tackled immediately and gave German football an immense upswing in the years that followed. The marketing of TV rights rose during his tenure from 400 million euros per season to more than one billion.
“The billionaire dealer” was the headline of “Kicker” in 2012 after a TV contract negotiated at the time and calculated that if Seifert got ten percent of a transfer like a player’s agent, he would have to receive 250 million euros. Seifert has no plans for his professional future yet. “A job at a club would not be the new professional chapter that I am aiming for,” he emphasized to the “image”. And: “I definitely rule out a change to the DFB in whatever role.”
How competent, eloquent, well networked and strong in leadership Seifert is was shown in the Corona crisis. When football came to a standstill and the players, coaches and supervisors were forced to take a break, Seifert became the face of German football. From then on, Seifert presented at regular press conferences what the 36 professional clubs had previously advised in video conferences under his leadership, strategically clever and also with a corresponding humility towards politics and the authorities.
Seifert led DFL through the crisis
Seifert was present on German television almost every week when there was something to report about the situation in professional football. Then he sat in front of the podium, calm and collected. He allowed every question there was. “Thank you for the question,” he usually replied first and then answered. From the beginning Seifert made no secret of the seriousness of the situation. He spoke of the threat of bankruptcy if the game cannot be continued.
“We make a product. But this product, which makes a handful of young soccer players rich, also guarantees work and a livelihood for at least 56,000 other people. ”Seifert was always clear in what he communicated. But as controlled as he often seemed, everything that has happened in the past few months has of course not passed him by. But on the contrary.
In a very personal interview, the DFL boss recently told the “Stern” how the difficult phase changed him himself. “I had a few nights with little sleep. The number of questions that came up was so great that I got up in the middle of the night and had to write everything down. ”When the Bundesliga dared to restart the world-wide acclaimed restart in May, he decided not to visit the stadium and preferred to mow at home the lawn. The pandemic was still not a trigger: “The situation of the last few months due to Corona has nothing to do with the decision.”
Watzke praises Seifert
Seifert, for whom it was “an honor and joy at the same time”, as he said on Monday, “will be able to actively shape the development of one of the largest sports leagues in the world, an important social institution and the establishment of one of the most innovative media companies in Germany” will be almost two years. now still be in office. Then he will leave big footsteps. Not only Hans-Joachim Watzke, the managing director of Borussia Dortmund, is already aware of this.
“German professional football is now asked to find a suitable successor. To replace a man like Christian Seifert, who has worked for football at such a high level for so long, 1: 1, is a difficult undertaking, “said Watzke. When asked about a successor, the promised one: “That is the task of the supervisory board. If you get my opinion or assessment, I am of course available. “
But which candidates are there? A dual leadership would be conceivable, in which the recognized DFL communications director Christian Pfennig plays a larger role. The name Michael Ilgner, previously Head of Sporthilfe, now Head of Human Resources at Deutsche Bank, is circulating.
One thing is clear: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (65), who will leave Bayern on December 31, 2021, is not available. A former club boss would always be accused of partiality anyway.