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Sports

Christian Heidel to take over as Schalke's sporting director

Horst Heldt's contract as Schalke's sporting director is up at the end of the season, and the Gelsenkirchen club has quickly found a successor. Heidel will confirm his departure in a press conference on Monday.

Christian Heidel will become Schalke's sporting director at the end of the season, the club confirmed in a statement on Sunday. The current Mainz man will take over for Horst Heldt once the current Schalke sporting director's contract expires in the summer.

"We are confident that Christian Heidel is the right man for Schalke 04 with his undisputed professional sports competence and experience, his proven leadership qualities and his positive charisma," said Schalke CEO Clemens Tönnies in a club statement.

Heidel met with 10 members of the Schalke board of directors on Sunday to finalize the deal, and Heidel admitted to Sky Sports in Germany that he "received all the answers he wanted". German daily newspaper "Bild" is also reporting the board voted unanimously to appoint him as the new sporting director. Mainz also already allowed him to leave the club despite his contract lasting until June, 2017, according to media reports.

Heidel has been part of the Mainz organization since 1992, helping the club reach the Bundesliga for the first time in 2004 with the help of Jürgen Klopp, the coach at the time. Mainz have only been relegated once since, and reached European competition for the first time in 2014.

"It was definitely a quick decision, because all things were exchanged that needed to be exchanged," Heidel told Sky. "I always told Clemens Tönnies that I would like to get to know all of the gentlemen on the board of directors. It only makes sense if they are all agreed on the path over the next few years. If that is not the case, then all of this does not make any sense."

dv/apc (dpa, SID)