Check & Rebalance – The Game

Check & Rebalance - The Game

Armin Lachette can talk to Franz Rindl about how quickly you can slip from favorite to loser. Thereby: Laschet still has minimal chances of becoming federal chancellor. Rindle’s choice for the post of President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) is a thing of the past. The last weekend in September the two met the short straw: Reindal, president of the German Ice Hockey Federation (DEB), the day before the general election, in which Laschet and the union had to accept a historic drop in votes. The reason for Reindal’s defeat against Frenchman Luc Tardiff was not a foul laugh in the flood zone or a YouTube video la Rezo that would have preached the destruction of the DEB. But, as Rindle said, “restricted checks from behind”. Rindl was meant by allegations from the state’s Ice Sports Association that have been in the room against him since June.

The list of allegations is long: it is about a possible conflict of interest as Honorary DEB Chairman on the one hand and the Payments Managing Director of DEB GmbH on the other, about possible unauthorized profit-taking and possibly too close ties with the Swiss. Sports rights marketer Infront Sports & Media, which in turn denies statutes that IIHF can violate. Now the Ethics Committee of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) has reacted to this information. In a statement to the DEB Presidium and the state ice sports federations, which has been submitted by SZ, President Thomas de Mazier writes that the Commission “immediately” advises that the matter be “extensively and independently investigated in the DEB”. It should be clarified, according to the former federal interior minister, “is there hidden funding for the honorary ceremony of the president”.

first time Spiegel And this Augsburg General In early June, Reindl reported potential hidden income. Interestingly, when the World Cup was underway in Latvia, and on the same day Rindal announced his candidacy for the post of IIHF president. Among other things, this was a monthly salary of around €7,500, which Reindl received as managing director of DEB GmbH and is said to have added up to €9,000 through additional and back payments. Rindle, 66, has been running a subsidiary of DEB since 1993, which was primarily responsible for organizing the domestic world championships in 2001, 2010 and 2017. Well known, defended Reindal, the chairman of the DEB since 2014. Activity as managing director of DEB GmbH was his job: “This is how I made my money. There was never a cent for my work as chairman.”

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Marketer Front had a 50 percent stake in DEB GmbH – and thus financed Reindel’s salary.

However, the state associations of Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt and Schleswig-Holstein sent a request for information to the DEB. One of the themes was the role of the infront. Between 2013 and 2018, the Swiss owned a 50 percent stake in DEB GmbH with DEB – and thus co-financed the salary of Reindl’s managing director. The regional associations wanted to clarify, inter alia, how Reindel, as DEB President, could interact with business partners Infront and also, as managing director of DEB GmbH, protect Infront’s interests without DEB can represent. Getting caught up in a conflict of interest.

In addition, Infront is said to have financially backed the loss-making GmbH, which never paid profits to DEB, and saved it from bankruptcy – for example when Infront took over a loan of EUR 300,000 in 2018. repayment waived. To this end, InFront has acquired marketing rights for the national team over the years, especially in stable conditions, although these could have generated significantly more income with the hosting of the domestic World Cup in 2017 at the latest. The national team, you should know, is basically the only field with which DEB makes money by participating in the World Championships and Olympic Games as well as the Germany Cup. Funds that regional federations need – especially a year and a half after the pandemic – to train the next generation and lay the foundations for future generations of national players.

Back in June, Reindl said a targeted effort “with rudimentary insider knowledge” and “partially misrepresented figures” to “bend transparent and known business processes to harm union and individual people”. “It was done for. Since the end of the contract on July 31, 2020, he has also done his job as “Administrative Manager” at DEB GmbH – in other words, on a voluntary basis. Rindle announced that the Presidium would still comply with legitimate requests for information from three “rather small state ice sports federations” that were still “within the scope of its information obligations”. At the same time, the DEB distributed a letter in which twelve of the 15 regional federations distanced themselves from the other three and declared their solidarity with Rendl.

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Rindl defended himself under his leadership that the association had “reinforced itself in terms of sport, economy and organisation”.

Rindle’s reference to “little associations” was clearly interpreted as a disregard for them. According to information from SZ, several regional associations are also said to have withdrawn their declaration of solidarity later. The transparency that Rindle called for was not always present. For example, contrary to what Reindel said, InFront’s contribution to DEB GmbH was not or was not fully disclosed at general meetings. The extension of Reindl’s management contract, which was actually limited to the end of July 2020, appears to internal critics of the association as a kind of bridging allowance until Reindl’s possible retirement. This justified the continuation of paid GmbH activity with concepts for domestic World Cup 2017 operations and further World Cup applications.

Has the association suffered a financial loss as a result of Rindle’s personal proximity to the Infront? Infront President Philippe Blatter, nephew of former FIFA boss Sepp Blatter, was involved in the 2014 DEB general meeting as counsel for presidential candidate Reindal, as was then-IIHF President René Fassel. The Swiss, who has now resigned his post after 27 years, never made a big secret of the fact that Rindl would be his ideal successor. It began with the slogan “Coordinate and Balance”, which sounds a bit like “Check and Balance”, the prevailing system in the United States to govern the state separation of powers. At the IIHF election in September, however, Rendel failed with a 39:67 vote in the fourth ballot, clearly against Canadian-born Frenchman Luc Tariff.

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It could also have played a role that, since 2016, a member of the IIHF Council, the world federation’s apex body, as payments managing director of DEB GmbH, which was supported by InFront as a “controlling shareholder” until 2018. , could. Has violated IIHF statutes: IIHF prohibits council members from paid employment with a commercial business partner. IIHF and Infront are also cooperation partners, with the current contract bringing the world union a total of about 450 million euros by 2033 – negotiated by Franz Rindl, among others.

Rindle, who was still very popular as a favorite for Faisal’s successor in May, sees himself wrongly in the column. Before the IIHF election congress, he told SZ that the DEB had “strengthened itself in terms of sport, economy and organization” under his leadership. German ice hockey has earned a high international reputation, booming in the sport with Olympic silver in 2018, a World Cup semi-final in 2021 and a fifth-place finish in the world rankings. At the same time, DEB provides the image of a divided union. Members report that pressure is being exerted on them by the Bureau. Calls from several regional associations that German ice hockey was headed for a “tangible scandal” “definitely had a negative impact on the election,” Rindel said.

High point of career as an officer: Franz Rindl congratulates captain Marcel Gok on winning the Olympic silver medal in 2018. The German team sensationally led the team of Olympic athletes from Russia in 3:2 55 seconds before the end and lost only 3:4 after extra time. It was the biggest success for German ice hockey. In 1976, when Germany won the bronze medal, Rindl himself was on the ice.

(Photo: Anke Velischmiller / Sven Simon / Imago)

It is questionable what consequences the allegations will have for Rindle and DEB. DOSB Ombudsman Thomas de Magire and Felix Rittenmaier both insist that the umbrella organization is not fundamentally responsible for the matter. According to de Mazier, the ethics committee “views clarification within DEB structures as a necessary and important step”. For an internal assessment of the association, “the question of transparent disclosure and communication of creation between the office of the Honorary President and the Assistant as well as the consideration of the will of the members of the DEB must be critical”. It will be “of course,” Deb said.

Here, however, the cat bites its tail. In a confidential preliminary report to the Ethics Commission, which is also with SZ, attorney Rittenmeier writes: The whistleblower “reliably assured that there was no sufficient contact person within the DEB to provide a fair, transparent and structured account of his information.” will follow within a fair process”. Rindle’s “final assessment of potential criminal liability for breach of trust or bribery” is not possible without “a thorough corporate law examination”. Nevertheless, “there are sufficient indications for the existence of an abuse of asset management obligation by Mr. Reindl at some point”, so that there is “preliminary suspicion of a criminal offense (…)”.

“There is no action against the DEB, the bureau or the chairman,” the DEB said. Legal steps have been taken against the whistleblowers mentioned by DOSB.

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