German FA president Reinhard Grindel resigns over corruption allegations
The president of the DFB has resigned after three controversial years in charge
The president of the German Football Association (DFB) Reinhard Grindel has confirmed that he has stepped down from his role with immediate effect following allegations of corruption from German news magazine Der Spiegel.
Grindel, 57, has faced growing pressure since reports emerged of payments he received of around 78,000 euros (£67,000) from a DFB subsidiary between July 2016 and July 2017, as well as a luxury watch that was given to him from Ukrainian football oligarch Hryhoriy Surkis, a UEFA vice-president and honorary president of the Ukrainian football federation.
Surkis sat alongside Grindel on the executive committee of European football's governing body UEFA until last February but Grindel has denied that the watch, worth around 6,000 euros (£5,150), was given to him for political reasons.
Grindel was elected as president of the DFB in April 2016 and resigned as a member of the Bundestag (German parliament), representing the centre-right CDU party, to take up the position despite virtually no experience in international football.
His three years in charge were ridden with controversy, including the treatment of Mesut Özil, who accused Grindel of overseeing a culture of institutional racism. In a statement announcing his retirement from international football last year, Özil wrote: "In the eyes of Grindel and his supporters, I am German when we win, but I am an immigrant when we lose."
Grindel, who oversaw Germany's successful bid to host Euro 2024, announced to the press on Tuesday: "I am stepping down from the position of DFB president, and I apologise for my less than exemplary behaviour regarding my acceptance of a watch."
"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 added 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. 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."
Former World Cup-winning Germany and Bayern Munich captain Philipp Lahm had been heavily linked to becoming Grindel's replacement but has since ruled himself out contention for the role, saying that he has "no interest" in the presidency.