“Only a week earlier and we would have had time to talk to Özil”
| Reading time: 4 minutes
Reinhard Grindel broke his silence. The former DFB president, stumbled across a luxury watch affair, gave an interview. It was an attempt to justify his misstep – and to straighten things out in the Özil case.
EIt had been quiet for a long time about Reinhard Grindel. His deep fall, misconduct in the association’s compliance rules, the shameful end as DFB president – the 58-year-old CDU man had little reason to show himself in public. A Ulysse Nardin watch that cost around 11,000 euros and was given to him by the Ukrainian oligarch Grigori Surkis for his birthday was doomed to him. He resigned in early April 2019 and has remained silent since then.
“Bild am Sonntag” he now opened his heart. Grindel’s three years at the top were not particularly glorious, apart from the bid for the 2024 European Championship: the catastrophic end to the 2018 World Cup, blatant mistakes in the communication strategy and repeatedly embarrassed embarrassments in his administration made him vulnerable.
At first, his reputation was extremely damaged by the fact that he did not properly assess the affair with the then international Mesut Özil, no longer got it under control, ended up getting completely out of hand and becoming a monster for his increasingly crumbling power. Özil had posed for a photo with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the run-up to the World Cup. At the cheap PR appointment in favor of Erdogan’s political machinations, the German international Ilkay Gündogan was among those present. In the aftermath of the affair, which resulted in Özil’s resignation from the national team at the end of July 2018, the offensive player Grindel made serious allegations, including racism.
“Children are more likely to wear jerseys from Salah than from Özil”
Grindel now said the “Bild am Sonntag” that it was “wrong and of course hit me. It is much more important, however, that the integration work in the DFB is exemplary. Nothing has changed there, except that the children today are more likely to wear a jersey from Mo Salah than from Mesut Özil. In retrospect, it will be possible to say that the whole affair would not have happened if the photo of Özil with Turkish President Erdogan had not been made public the day before the squad was announced for the 2018 World Cup. ”
Grindel was asked what he meant by that. He replied: “Just a week earlier, and we would have had time to talk to Özil in peace about the fact that there must be a clear, unmistakable distance from the campaign photo. Ilkay Gündogan did this in an exemplary manner and there is nothing left. It could and should have gone that way at Özil. ”
Regarding his own misstep, he said that he had “committed a compliance violation and it was right to draw the consequences. I handled the ominous watch gift completely transparently and innocently. Many of the DFB knew about it, and I didn’t make any other decision because of this watch. I never made a secret of the gift. You might call that naive, at least this form of transparency was the complete opposite of corruption. ”But there were hours when he was already struggling with his mistake, he confessed.
When the watch was given to him, he was “pleased with the appreciation and never thought of doing something that was forbidden. Unfortunately there have been people who noticed this mistake and stabbed the press instead of talking to me about it. I was really concerned with that. ”
Grindel says that after he resigned, he enjoyed his private life, which he said he hardly had as a former member of the Bundestag, “but above all as a DFB president”. “That’s why the family was at the top after I resigned,” he said. He now advises some companies in the fields of politics and sport. He also recently obtained the fishing license because his ten-year-old son is “very interested in fish and fishing – so we have a common hobby”. Grindel said in the interview with the newspaper that he was “very satisfied” with his life.
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