German FA president Reinhard Grindel resigns over watch gift

Reinhard Grindel has been under growing pressure following controversies culminating in media reports surrounding the acceptance of a gift of a €6,000 watch. (Reuters)
Updated 02 April 2019

German FA president Reinhard Grindel resigns over watch gift

  • Reinhard Grindel: I am stepping down from the position of DFB president, and I apologize for my less than exemplary behavior regarding my acceptance of a watch
  • Former Germany midfielder Lothar Matthaeus: The DFB have made some bad judgments under Grindel’s leadership in the last few months - a new face is urgently needed

BERLIN: The president of the German Football Association (DFB) Reinhard Grindel confirmed on Tuesday that he had stepped down with immediate effect, ending three controversial years in charge.
The 57-year-old has been under growing pressure following controversies culminating in a newspaper report on Monday that he had accepted the gift of a €6,000 ($6,700) watch from Hryhoriy Surkis, a UEFA vice president and honorary president of the Ukrainian football federation.
“I am stepping down from the position of DFB president, and I apologize for my less than exemplary behavior regarding my acceptance of a watch,” said Grindel.
Surkis sat alongside Grindel on the executive committee of European football’s governing body UEFA until last February. Yet Grindel denied that he had been given the watch for political reasons.
“For me this was an entirely private gift which I was bound to accept out of politeness,” he said.
“I did not have any idea how expensive the watch was and it was a grave oversight on my part not to find out. In doing so, I could have avoided the impression that I was acting inappropriately.”
Grindel said that Surkis had “no economic interest in the DFB.”
“I am deeply shaken to have to give up my role as DFB president over such an issue,” Grindel said.
“I ask myself: why has this happened? I can only say that I was completely convinced that I was doing nothing wrong and that, in the stress of my position, I did not question myself enough.”
Grindel’s resignation was welcomed by former Germany midfielder Lothar Matthaeus.
“The DFB have made some bad judgments under Grindel’s leadership in the last few months. A new face is urgently needed,” Matthaeus told Sky.
Former DFB president Theo Zwanziger, meanwhile, said the presidency, which is a nominally voluntary role, must be reformed.
“The DFB is unbelievably important and it needs its leadership to be unassailable,” Zwanziger told RP Online.
“With the amount of work it involves, the presidency should be a full-time position with an appropriate salary,” Zwanziger told RP Online.
“Everything else is hypocritical and leads to a lack of transparency.”
A former journalist and member of the German parliament for the center-right CDU party, Grindel had been president of the DFB since 2015.
In recent months, he oversaw Germany’s successful bid to host Euro 2024, but also came under fierce criticism for his handling of various scandals.
He was singled out by Mesut Ozil, who accused Grindel of overseeing a culture of institutional racism, when the Arsenal midfielder retired from international duty last July.
“In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose,” wrote Ozil in his explosive resignation statement.
Grindel has also come under increasing fire from the media in recent weeks.
In March, he broke off an interview with broadcaster Deutsche Welle after refusing to answer questions about the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
On Friday, magazine Der Spiegel alleged that Grindel had kept quiet about €78,000 ($87,380) of income which he had received from a DFB subsidiary in 2016 and 2017.
The DFB responded with a statement saying Grindel had declared all his income correctly.
On Tuesday, the association confirmed that vice presidents Rainer Koch and Reinhard Rauball would take over as joint interim presidents until Grindel’s successor is elected.
Bild has already named ex-Germany and Real Madrid defender Christoph Metzelder, 38, as a possible replacement.
Former Bayern Munich defender Philipp Lahm has ruled himself out of the running, saying that he had “no interest” in the presidency.

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

Updated 18 April 2019

Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal into Monte Carlo last eight

  • Medvedev eliminates 6th seed Tsitsipas in three sets

MONTE CARLO: Top seed Novak Djokovic and 11-time champion Rafael Nadal showed no mercy in dominating wins to power into the Monte Carlo Masters quarterfinals on Thursday.

Djokovic extended his winning streak against US players with a 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Taylor Fritz.

The two-time tournament champion has now won nine in a row over Americans since losing at Wimbledon in 2016 to Sam Querrey.

“It was very challenging to play in these (windy) conditions,” Djokovic said. “Taylor just flattens the ball.

“We had five, six close games in the first set, I just managed to break his resistance midway through.

“After that, things went on my side and I felt more comfortable.

“This was one of these days where you just have to hang in there and try to put an extra ball back in the court — that was enough.”

Nadal repeated last year’s semifinal win over Grigor Dimitrov, beating the Bulgarian for the 12th time, 6-4, 6-1.

“I’m very, very happy, this is an important victory for me,” the second seed said after winning his 23rd consecutive set at the tournament.

“Grigor is a super talent and is very dangerous. It was a positive match for me.

“I had a good day, I can be happy with what I did on court.

“When you don’t play on clay for almost a year, every win is important for the confidence, especially as I’m coming back from injury.”

Spain’s 17-time Grand Slam champion started his clay season this week after missing a month with another knee problem and has title-holder points to defend here plus Barcelona, Rome and Roland Garros.

The king of clay is bidding for a 12th trophy in the principality. His record at the event is a staggering 70-4.

Nadal spent almost an hour in securing the first set but picked up the pace in the second as he ran out the winner.

He next faces Guido Pella, who defeated Italy’s Marco Cecchinato 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

World No. 1 Djokovic will be playing his ninth quarterfinal here from 13 appearances at his home event.

Djokovic turned in a steady performance with a dozen winners and unforced errors, while his opponent committed nearly 30 unforced errors in 68 minutes.

Sixth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas earlier lost 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 as Daniil Medvedev continued his run of form.

The Russian will next line up against Djokovic after losing to him in January in the Australian Open fourth round.

Tsitsipas was caught on the back foot facing three match points as he trailed 0-40 on his serve late in the second set. After saving the first two, the Greek botched the third to seal his exit after an hour and three-quarters.

Medvedev increased his leading total of ATP season match wins to 20 as a result after he beat Tsitsipas for the fourth time in as many attempts.

“This was a great achievement for me,” Medvedev said. “Everything was perfect today.

“Some wind came up in the second set and I could not get used to it. But in the third, I just worked to put every ball in the court.

“I was pleased to fight back after going a break down in the third set.”

The player who stands a career-high 14th credits his rising form to a renewed dedication to the sport.

“I’ve been working hard for the past 18 months —  since before the start of 2018. I’ve dedicated my life to tennis, which I did not do before,” Medvedev said.

“I had my best season last year — hopefully this year will be better.”

The Russian reached his first quarterfinal at the Masters 1000 level after winning his second match against a Top 10 opponent.

Tsitsipas, runner-up last season to Nadal in Toronto, suffered his eighth defeat of the season against 18 wins and will try and lift his game next week on the clay of Barcelona. 

Italian qualifier Lorenzo Sonego defeated Britain’s Cameron Norrie 6-2, 7-5.