Controls and Imbalances – Sport

Armin Laschet can talk to Franz Reindl about how quickly you can slide from favorites to losers. Where: Laschet still has a slim chance of becoming a federal advisor. Reindl’s choice to head the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is now a thing of the past. They both got the short straw last weekend in September: Reindl, president of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB), a day before the general election, as Laschet and the union had to accept a historic drop in votes. The reason for Rendell’s defeat against Frenchman Luc Tardiff was not a misplaced laugh in the Flood Zone or a YouTube video clip Rezo-style that would have promoted the destruction of DEB. But, in the words of Reindel, “prevent checks from behind.” Rendell has been referring to the allegations from the state ice sports federations that have been in the room against him since June.

The list of allegations is long: it relates to a possible conflict of interest as the honorary president of DEB on the one hand and the paid managing director of DEB GmbH on the other, about the possible unauthorized exploitation of the benefits and the potentially very close relationship with Switzerland sports rights marketing company Infront Sports & Media, which in turn violates Laws that the IIHF can violate. Now the Ethics Committee of the German Olympics Federation (DOSB) has responded to the relevant information. In a statement to the DEB presidency and state ice sports federations, provided by SZ, board chairman Thomas de Maizière wrote that the committee advises “urgently” that the matter be “comprehensively and independently examined in DEB”. It must be clarified, according to the former Federal Minister of the Interior, “whether there is hidden funding for the honorary post of the President of the Republic.”

for the first time Spiegel and the Augsburg General At the beginning of June, Reindel reported the potential hidden income. Interestingly, while the World Cup was being held in Latvia, on the same day Rendl announced his candidacy for the presidency of the International Federation of Architecture. Among other things, this salary was close to 7,500 euros per month, which Reindl earned as managing director of DEB GmbH, which is said to have added up to 9,000 euros through additional and late payments. Reindl, 66, has been running the DEB subsidiary since 1993, which was primarily responsible for organizing the World Championships at home in 2001, 2010 and 2017. Well known, he defended Reindl, president of DEB since 2014. His activity was as General Manager of DEB GmbH is his job: “That’s how I made my money. There wasn’t a single cent on my job as president.”

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Marketer Infront owned a 50 percent stake in DEB GmbH – and thus funded Reindl’s salary

But the associations of the states of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein sent a request for information to the DEB. One theme was the role of Infront. Between 2013 and 2018, the Swiss owned a 50% stake in DEB GmbH along with DEB – and thus co-financed Reindl’s managing director salary. The regional associations wanted to explain, among other things, how Reindl, as the head of DEB, could negotiate with the business partner Infront, and at the same time, as the managing director of DEB GmbH, could represent Infront’s interests vis-à-vis DEB without becoming embroiled in a conflict of interest.

In addition, Infront is said to have financially backed the deficit GmbH, which has never paid a profit to DEB, and saved it from bankruptcy – for example when Infront forgoed the repayment of a €300,000 loan in 2018. For this purpose, Infront acquired Marketing rights for the national team exclusively in stable conditions for years, although these would have generated significantly higher incomes at the latest with the hosting of the World Cup in 2017. You should know that the national team is basically the only region where DEB makes money through Participation in the World Championships, Olympic Games, as well as the German Cup. The money the regional associations need – especially after a year and a half of the pandemic – to train the next generation and lay the foundation for future generations of national players.

Last June, Reindel said that with “raw inside knowledge” and “partially distorted personalities,” a targeted attempt was made to “distort transparent and known business operations in order to harm the association and individuals.” Since the expiry of the contract on July 31, 2020, he has also done his work at DEB GmbH as a “Managing Director” – in other words, on a voluntary basis. Reindl announced that the Presidency will continue to comply with legitimate requests for information from three “smaller state ice sports federations” “within the scope of the information obligations.” At the same time, DEB distributed a letter in which twelve of the 15 regional associations distanced themselves from the other three and declared their solidarity with Reindl.

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Reindel defends himself under his leadership that the federation has “established itself in terms of sport, economy and organization”

Clearly, Reindel’s reference to “smaller associations” is understood by him as a disregard. According to SZ information, several regional federations are also said to have subsequently withdrawn their declaration of solidarity. The transparency that Reindl always called out did not exist. For example, contrary to what Reindl said, Infront’s contributions to DEB GmbH were not disclosed or fully disclosed at public meetings. The extension of Reindl’s management contract, which was effectively limited to 2018, through the end of July 2020, appears to the association’s internal critics as a kind of bridging allowance until Reindl’s possible retirement. This justified the continuation of GmbH’s paid activity with handling of the 2017 World Cup and the concepts of more World Cup applications.

Did the association suffer financial damage as a result of Reindl’s personal proximity to Infront? Infront President Philip Blatter, a nephew of former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, participated in the DEB general meeting in 2014 as an advocate for presidential candidate Rendel, as was then-IIHF President René Fassel. The Swiss, who has now resigned after 27 years, has never hidden the fact that Rendel would be his ideal successor. It began with the slogan “Coordination and Balance”, which is similar to the “checks and balances” system practiced in the United States to control the separation of powers between states. But in the September IIHF election, Reindl failed on the fourth ballot by 39:67 votes, clearly against Canadian-born Frenchman Luc Tardiff.

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It could also have played the role of Reindl, since 2016 as a member of the IIHF Board, the world’s highest body, as the paid managing director of DEB GmbH, which was backed by Infront as the “controlling shareholder” until 2018, violating IIHF laws IIHF prohibits board members from working for a fee with a business partner. The IIHF and Infront are also partners in the collaboration, with the current contract for the World Federation bringing in a total of around €450 million by 2033 – negotiated by Franz Reindl, among others.

Reindel, who was still popular in May as the favorite to succeed Vasyl, sees himself mistaken for the podium. Prior to the IIHF’s electoral conference, he told SZ that DEB had “strengthened itself in terms of sport, economy and organization” under his leadership. A sporting recovery with the Olympic silver medal in 2018, the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2021 and the move to fifth place in the world rankings, has earned German ice hockey a high international reputation. At the same time, DEB presents the discrete link image. Members reported that they are under pressure from the office. Rendel said calls from several regional federations that German ice hockey was heading for a “concrete scandal” would “certainly have a negative impact on the election”.

Peak of career as an official: Franz Reindel congratulates Captain Marcel Gauck on winning the Olympic silver medal in 2018. The German team led the team of Olympic athletes from Russia in an impressive 3:2 55 seconds before the finish and lost only 3:4 after overtime. It was the greatest success of German ice hockey. In 1976, when Germany won the bronze, Reindel himself was on the ice.

(Photo: Anke Waelischmiller / Sven Simon / Imago)

It is questionable what the consequences of the allegations against Reindl and DEB will be. Thomas de Maizière and Felix Rettenmaier, DOSB’s Ombudsman, maintain that the umbrella organization is not primarily responsible for this issue. According to de Maiziere, the Ethics Committee considers that “clarification within the structures of the EDB is a necessary and important step”. For the association’s internal evaluation, “the issue of disclosure and transparent communication on construction between the office of the honorary president and the subsidiary as well as consideration of the will of the DEB members should be of interest.” “Of course,” Depp said.

Here, however, the cat bites its tail. In a confidential initial report to the Ethics Committee, which is also owned by SZ, attorney Rettenmaier wrote: The whistleblower “credibly asserted that no appropriate contact person within the DEB would pursue its information impartially, transparently and within a fair process.” A “final assessment of Mr. Reindl’s potential criminal liability for breach of trust or bribery” cannot be made without an “in-depth examination of corporate law”. However, there are “at some points sufficient indications of an abuse of the asset management obligation by Mr. Reindel”, that there is a “preliminary suspicion (…) of a criminal offence”.

The EDB stated that “there are no actions against the EDB, the office, or the president.” Legal steps have been taken against the said whistleblower by the State Health Service (DOSB).

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