Reinhard Grindel has stepped down as president of the German Football Association (DFB) with immediate effect following allegations of corruption.
Bayern Munich and Germany great Philipp Lahm has been linked with taking charge but no permanent appointment will be made until September.
The DFB confirmed on Tuesday that vice-presidents Dr Rainer Koch and Dr Reinhard Rauball will jointly take the role on an interim basis.
Der Spiegel reported DFB head Grindel accepted the gift of a luxury watch from Ukrainian oligarch Grigoriy Surkis, who was a UEFA vice president and executive committee member.
Grindel denies wrongdoing and insisted in a statement released via the DFB that an investigation into the incident will clear his name.
“I would like to apologise for the fact that my accepting of a watch seems to have confirmed prejudices against people in administrative positions in football,” Grindel said.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I am not avaricious and that I have been working on compliance matters for years. Since the weekend, I have known the value of the watch at €6,000, so I approached our general secretary and our compliance committee yesterday morning to discuss the situation.
“Mr Surkis had no financial interests in the DFB. He had never asked me for any kind of support before, nor did he ask for any after. It was also clear by that point that he would not be running for another position on the UEFA committee, of which he is now no longer a member. I see no conflict of interests.
“For me, this was nothing more than a private gift, with no connection to the Ukrainian association or a commercial company. Accepting the watch was simple act of courtesy from me. I was open about having received this gift – I showed my colleagues who had travelled with me to Geneva and mentioned it to the staff in Frankfurt as well.
“I did not know the brand, nor did I have any idea of its value. It was a big failure on my part to not determine the value of the watch immediately. This way I could have avoided any implications of such unspeakable behaviour.”
DFB president Reinhard Grindel has resigned with immediate effect.
Vice presidents Dr. Rainer Koch and Dr. Reinhard Rauball will head the German FA on an interim basis. pic.twitter.com/8rzp0lK21d
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) April 2, 2019
Grindel continued: “I would like to emphasise once again, that I have no explanation as to why I did not ensure clarity with regard to the situation. You can believe me when I say that I’ve been in complete disbelief about my mistake since the weekend.
“I would like to ask everyone, however, not least in the interest of my family, who have suffered as a result of all this, to wait for the Compliance Committees to complete their investigations. I did absolutely nothing in return for receiving this gift. I assumed I could accept the watch as a private gift.
“It will now be returned as soon as possible. I sincerely hope that the Compliance Committee will determine that this was a breach of reporting obligations, but that my integrity will not be called into question.
“To conclude: I am devastated that I have to give up my role as DFB president because of such an incident, a role I took pleasure in, especially to provide more support for amateur football in Germany.”
— Reinhard Grindel (@R_Grindel) September 27, 2018
Grindel, who will continue in his posts on both the FIFA council and UEFA executive committee, came under fire last year following Mesut Ozil’s international retirement.
The Arsenal midfielder quit Germany duty in the wake of their dismal World Cup defence at Russia 2018, claiming he had been made a scapegoat following a controversial meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to the tournament.
“If we win, I’m German. If we lose, I’m an immigrant,” Ozil said in a statement confirming he would no longer be available to play for Germany.
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