(Ben W) #1
Liquidated in 2011
and reborn in the
fifth tier, they won
their first trophy for
18 years, beating
Guingamp on
penalties after a 0-
draw in the French
League Cup Final.

created the power vacuum into which
Grindel, then DFB treasurer, bounded.
The prospect of football power was so
alluring that this former lawyer and
journalist threw over his political career
and a place in the Bundestag with
chancellor Angela Merkel.
He arrived at the DFB promising
“transparency”, that buzzword to which
every aspiring powerbroker pays lip
service. In his case, he said that meant
receiving a modest €7,000-a-month plus
a further €7,000 recognition for loss of
earnings from being an MP.
Grindel introduced the usual handful
of internal irritations, as is inevitable with
a new boss eager to make his presence
felt. Far more disturbing was evidence
that he lacked any shred of diplomatic
common sense, speaking up without
regard to consequence.
Hence the overhasty renewal of
Joachim Low’s contract as national
coach; hence the exacerbation of the
issues revolving around Mesut Ozil before
and after a disastrous World Cup; hence
clumsy comments over Low’s axing of
Mats Hummel, Jerome Boateng and
Thomas Muller.
Grindel did lead Germany’s successful
acquisition of host rights to Euro 2024
but the only rival was Turkey, whose own
officials had long since given up hope.
By then, within the DFB, the knives
were already out. It was merely a
question of time – and of leaks
weaponised by Der Spiegel, with perfect
timing, around the high-visibility launch
of German football’s Hall of Fame. A
cornered Grindel skipped a red-carpet

entrance and ultimately slipped away
through the back door to resignation.
Firstly, he was revealed to have
bolstered his wage with a €78,
package for heading a federation
subsidiary, DFB-Medien GmbH. But
he may have ridden out the cash con
were the watch not a credibility killer.
This had been given to Grindel as a
birthday present by Grigory Surkis, the
former Ukraine federation president with
a long and chequered past. Grindel said
he had thought it a mere bauble but now,
on having had it valued at €6,000, he
understood he needed to declare it to
the customs office. But it was too late.
It was also bad news for UEFA as focus
turned to some of Grindel’s European
colleagues, such as Ireland’s John
Delaney, who is under domestic pressure
over a €100,000 loan he made to his
own FAI; beIN Sport’s Qatari boss Nasser
Al Khelaifi, who was delegated on to the
ExCo by the European Club Association
despite a Swiss judicial investigation; and
Ukraine’s Andriy Pavelko, who ousted
Surkis controversially and is also subject
to a criminal complaint in Switzerland.
To make matters worse, the Grindel
revelations exploded just as UEFA’s
strictures against racism in football were
being publicly flouted from Ukraine to
Montenegro to Italy.
Troubles come not in single spies. FIFA
knows it only too well. UEFA’s travails, as
it raises a lone voice in resisting Gianni
Infantino’s competitions expansion, may
have sparked the odd wry smile in Zurich.
Grindel and his fellow countrymen
have a word for it: schadenfreude.

Made a world-
record profit
of £113million
after tax for the
2017-18 season,
with income rising
from £310m
to £380m.

The first away side to
win two Libertadores
Cup games at the
Maracana, following
up a 1-0 win in 1982
over Flamengo with
the same result
against the same
side 37 years later.

Never recovered
from conceding
two early goals
in their opening
Euro 2020
qualifier away
to Kazakhstan,
who eventually
triumphed 3-0.

Their Champions
League hopes were
ended for a fourth
successive year by
Lyon. They have
lost twice in the
Final and twice in
the quarter-finals.

Equalled the record for
the earliest relegation
in a Premier League
season, joining Derby
County and Ipswich
Town in going down
with six games still
to play.

(left) with
Angela Merkel
and former
Philipp Lahm