NNA - German Football Association President Reinhard Grindel resigned Tuesday after apologizing for accepting an expensive watch from a Ukrainian colleague as a gift, although he said he had not known its value. Grindel, who took over the world’s biggest sports federation by membership in 2016, had come under pressure over reports about income he received from a DFB subsidiary and about a watch he had been given by Ukrainian businessman and football administrator Grigory Surkis.
"Everyone who knows me knows that I am not greedy. The price of the watch was 6,000 euros [$6,715 at today’s rate]. I did not know the brand or its value at the time," Grindel said in a brief statement to reporters.
"Mr. Surkis had no intention to use this with the DFB. He never asked me for any support. It was a private gift with no relation to the Ukraine federation or commercial enterprises. It was a matter of politeness to accept it."
"I cannot explain why I did not take action for swift clarity. I am stunned by my mistake. I resign as DFB president. I apologize for my less-than-exemplary action of accepting the watch."
The DFB, which will host the Euro 2024 tournament, said that Vice Presidents Rainer Koch and Reinhard Rauball would be an interim solution until elections were held in September.
Grindel, a former journalist and conservative CDU member of Parliament, had also been in the spotlight after a Spiegel report identified a 78,000 euro income he had received from a DFB subsidiary that had not been made public.
Grindel is also a UEFA executive committee member and a FIFA Council member.
He took over at the DFB from Wolfgang Niersbach, who was forced to resign amid allegations of vote rigging for the 2006 World Cup and a payment to world football’s governing body FIFA that led to a separate investigation.
Grindel had virtually no international experience in football when he took over the role. ---Reuters