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Sports

Brakes on for new DFB president

The German FA has put the brakes on the process of selecting a new president to replace Wolfsgang Niersbach, who stepped down earlier this month. This came amid a scandal linked to the awarding of the 2006 World Cup.

The presidium of the DFB (German FA) failed in a meeting at its Frankfurt headquarters on Friday to reach a concensus on a candidate to replace

Niersbach, who resigned amid the World Cup controversy

10 days ago.

Reinhard Rauball (pictured above, right), one of the two interim co-presidents of the DFB said that the presidium had agreed to put a vote for a new president on hold, pending a report by the external firm that the association brought in to look into allegations of wrongdoing, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

"We have come to the joint conclusion that getting to the bottom of the events surrounding the 2006 World Cup takes priority," Rauball told reporters after the meeting, which lasted almost five hours.

All sides appeared to be at great pains to portray a united front, after what seemed to be a deep rift had emerged in recent days between the regional and state associations that represent Germany's amateur clubs and members of the German football league (DFL), which operates the Bundesliga.

Support for Grindel

On Tuesday, the

21 representatives of the amateur clubs

threw their support behind DFB Treasurer Reinhard Grindel (above, left) as their candidate to become the new president. At first, this appeared to have put him in the driver's seat to get the job, as the amateur clubs have a two-thirds majority among those eligible to elect the DFB president. Had the professional clubs thrown their support behind him at Friday's meeting, this would have been the case. However, that did not happen, with the DFL making clear that it was not about to be pushed into a snap decision about a candidate.

"We have stated that the league would have preferred another method [to find a replacement]," DFL chief executive Christian Seifert said after Friday's meeting.

"It would not make sense or be consistent with that if, on the one hand, we want to wait for the investigation results into the World Cup affair and on the other put up our own candidate at the same time."

Sondersitzung des DFB-Präsidiums Christian Seifert

Seifert: It didnmake sense to "put up our own candidate."

'Talking with, not about each other'

For his part, Grindel stressed that the representatives of the amateur and the professional game in Germany had reached a consensus on how to move forward.

"We are completely agreed. It is not just about a head for the DFB, but rather getting to the bottom of a very depressing affair," he said. "Together we are going to address the consequences and make the DFB fit for the future. We speak with each other, not about each other."

The meeting had been expected to be used to discuss a date for an extraordinary meeting to elect a new president, but no timetable was discussed. As things stand, Reinhard Grindel remains the favorite to become Niersbach's successor, but it will now likely take longer than he may have been hoping just 24 hours ago.

Beckenbauer speaks out

Meanwhile, the man at the heart of the 2006 World Cup scandal, Franz Beckenbauer has used an interview with the "Süddeutsche" newspaper to

sharply criticize Rauball and Rainer Koch, the DFB's other interim co-president,

saying they had failed to respond to an offer of a personal conversation to help clear up the matter.

Beckenbauer, the head of the 2006 organizing committee, is one of the signatories to a contractual agreement uncovered by Freshfields in its investigation into a 6.7 million-euro ($7.2 million) payment made to FIFA in 2005 that the DFB has been unable to account for. The news of the sparked a tax-evasion investigation, which led police to

raid the DFB's headquarters and Niersbach's personal residence

last month.

pfd/jh (dpa, SID)

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