For weeks, winemaker and restaurateur Fritz Keller from Oberbergen in Baden made headlines in his capacity as president of the DFB because he rashly and probably very spontaneously compared his vice president to a notorious Nazi judge. This ultimately led to his resignation as head of the association. Now one can only call out to the honorable man from Baden: Welcome home.
GERMANY (Vogtsburg-Oberbergen) – Earlier as a winemaker, he had to deal with powdery and downy mildew, botrytis, black rot, and a disease like Esca that causes old vines to die. When Fritz Keller, for a long time extremely successful as part-time president of SC Freiburg, let himself be persuaded to take over the office of president at the German Football Association, he had no idea that this club at the top was infested with completely different pests and that something like phylloxera was even celebrating its merry days here.
As an experienced entrepreneur who can also look behind the scenes, Keller obviously became aware of some oddities and inconsistencies. Clarification was not possible. He was refused information on the matter. At the head of the association, he stood alone against three “vine lice”, his vice, the secretary general and treasurer. The latter two may now also say goodbye, only the vice president named Koch may continue to cook his soup for a good half year. Why Keller slipped out the name “Freisler” in one of the probably more frequent discussions is a question about which only conjectures can be made.
If we do causal research, we end up with the method of the Nazi judge, who had already written his sentences before the trial began and did not give the convicts the right to defend themselves. It fits into the picture that Fritz Keller’s office manager was dismissed without notice because he had presumably obtained documents for his boss that would have allowed a look behind DFB scenes. There was no prior consultation with Keller. Unlike those convicted by Freisler, the office manager does have the option of appealing against the termination without notice. But both he and his lawyer were apparently refused a statement. Then Keller probably burst his collar. Perhaps he also had in mind that there was a similar case at the DFB in 2015, when the long-time vice president was fired without notice. Before the labor court, the association had to give small and pay the settlement expensive seven figures.
Keller’s official resignation on Monday, May 17 was accompanied by clear words about the conditions at the DFB. This was also regretted by the president of the Weinelf Germany, Robert Lönarz. Fritz Keller is a passive member here (shirt number 66). “We expressly thank him for his ambitious work for German soccer,” says the Weinelf president. “With his friendly manner and great honesty, he was on a very good way to combine professional and recreational soccer.”
Rock in the cellar surf
It is to be hoped that the man from Baden will gradually look forward to being able to pursue his favorite pastimes again: welcoming guests to the “Schwarzer Adler” and chatting with them, considering with sommelier Melanie which wines will go with the menu, or tasting from the barrel with junior Friedrich in the cellar. And then there’s wife Bettina, whom winemaker Joachim Heger described as a “rock in the cellar surf” at Keller’s 60th birthday in 2017. Fritz could use a rock like that in the near future.