Frankfurt (dpa) – Christian Seifert will leave his position as chief executive of the German Football League (DFL) when his contract expires in 2022, he said in a statement on Monday.
“These are challenging times that require clarity and reliability,” said Seifert. “That applies to DFL as a whole and also to my professional ambitions.”
In announcing his decision about 20 months before his departure on June 30, 2022, Seifert said he hoped to give the DFL supervisory board time to plan for the future.
Seifert, 51, has led the Bundesliga since 2005. Under his leadership, the value of television deals for the top two league professional teams peaked at 4.6 billion euros (5.4 billion dollars) for the last television deal – an increase of 400 million euros per season.
It was trimmed for the next four-year contract from 2021/22 amid the coronavirus crisis but there has been little criticism of Siefert for this amid the pandemic.
“Christian Seifert has done an extraordinary job for over 15 years making a major contribution to the success of the Bundesliga and the second division,” said Peter Peters, chairman of the DFL board.
Borussia Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke said dpa Seifert’s departure would be a “bitter blow” to the league and added he had “highest respect” for his work.
German football federation (DFB) president Fritz Keller said Seifert was “an indispensable, passionate and knowledgeable champion for all German football.”
Just over a week ago Seifert confirmed that he had resigned from his position on the DFB chairing committee citing time constraints amid the coronavirus crisis.
Seifert and the league were also widely lauded for last season’s quick resumption after suspension starting March. The Bundesliga is the first major league to restart in mid-May and other countries strictly adhere to hygiene protocols implemented by leagues and clubs.
Recently Seifert and DFL also formed a task force to discuss the future of professional football in Indonesia.
“In my position at the top of the DFL, I can actively shape the development of one of the world’s largest sports leagues, an important social institution and the establishment of one of Germany’s most innovative media companies,” said Seifert.
Peters said the board would consider replacing Seifert “without time pressure” in what would be a “comprehensive process.”
There are no obvious direct candidates but business expertise, especially in marketing and media, is likely to be valued over football experience.
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