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Loew backs Keller as new head of under-fire German FA


AFP Berlin
Germany coach Joachim Loew gave his backing to the new president of the scandal-hit German Football Association (DFB), Fritz Keller, who vowed to regain lost trust in the DFB following his election Friday.
"Fritz Keller has stood for professionalism, down-to-earth thinking and a great management culture for many, many years," said the 2014 World Cup-winning coach, who like Keller hails from south-west Germany.
Loew says Fritz will bring "a great deal of passion" to the embattled DFB, "that will do us good" following a series of recent scandals which rocked the association.
The 62-year-old winemaker and restaurateur was unanimously elected in Frankfurt as head of the DFB, which has around seven million members, becoming the 13th president of the 119-year-old association.
"Now it's time to roll up the sleeves, tie the laces, put on the shin pads and get to work," Keller told delegates at the DFB headquarters.
He takes over an association still reeling from a series of blows. Keller's predecessor Reinhard Grindel resigned earlier this year over a luxury watch scandal.
However, his reputation was already tarnished after Mesut Ozil singled him out for criticism in his statement while retiring from international duty in July 2018 after Germany failed to qualify from their group at the World Cup.
The Arsenal midfielder, who has a Turkish background, deemed comments made by Grindel in 2004 as "unforgivable and unforgettable", after he said "multi-culturism is in reality a myth (and) a lifelong lie" in Germany.
On top of that, former DFB presidents Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach must also answer tax evasion charges, linked to the 2006 World Cup vote-buying scandal, as part of ongoing investigations in both Germany and Switzerland.
Having been chairman, then president of Bundesliga club Freiburg, Fritz said the DFB must win back faith from the German public, especially after the disastrous 2018 World Cup campaign.
His restaurant Schwarzer Adler - Black Eagle - has held a Michelin star for 50 years and Fritz says the DFB, like any good caterer, must get the basics right.
"We want to regain trust, at the grassroots level and in society," said Keller.
"The DFB must be a serious advocate, service provider and lobbyist for football.
"Our aim must be to be the world's best and if things are going well at the top, we will be able to pass on our services to the grassroots.

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First Published: Sep 27 2019 | 8:50 PM IST

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