Apologies from Winkler: DFB conference accepts

German Football Association

Apologies from Winkler: DFB conference accepts

Ronny Zimmermann, Vice President of the DFB, sits at a PK.

Ronny Zimmermann, Vice President of the DFB, sits at a PK.

Photo: Andreas Arnold/dpa/archive picture

DFB Vice President Hermann Winkler caused a stir with statements about the Ukrainian head of state Volodymyr Zelenskyj. On Wednesday he apologized to the regional and association presidents.

Cologne. The regional and state association presidents of the German Football Association have accepted an apology from DFB Vice President Hermann Winkler after his controversial Instagram post on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. “Hermann Winkler apologized expressly and, in my opinion, extremely emotionally,” said DFB Vice President Ronny Zimmermann after the meeting on Wednesday of the German Press Agency: “This apology was accepted from the point of view of the conference. Everyone agreed on that.”

Whether Winkler still has to fear consequences is an open question. “For us, the issue is closed. I don’t know if anyone else puts this on the agenda in other committees,” said Zimmermann in Cologne. However, the regional and state association presidents also agreed on the assessment. “Everyone described their personal impressions, which were largely identical,” said Zimmermann: “Namely that this post is simply unacceptable and crosses a red line. There were no two opinions.”

In a DFB announcement, Winkler’s words were quoted: “My post is unspeakable and unjustifiable, it was a mistake and will not be repeated.” Zimmermann reported that Winkler had “made it clear that it was a huge mistake and that he took the corner , into which he is now being pushed, does not feel that he belongs. That he was overpowered in that situation because of his socialization.” Former CDU politician Winkler referred to Selenskyj as a “former Ukrainian actor” in an Instagram post on Sunday, without naming the Ukrainian president.

On Monday, the president of the Northeast German Football Association announced via Facebook that he would not write the entry again. He apologized for “the irritation caused” and wrote that he condemned the aggression of Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, he does not personally agree with everything Zelenskyj does. Christos Katzidis, President of the Mittelrhein Association, said before the meeting that he found the post in question “very strange because it doesn’t seem like an honest apology to me.”

According to Zimmermann, this was also discussed in detail on Wednesday. “If he had phrased it the way he did today, perhaps some confusion would have been avoided earlier,” he said: “But we all know that a personal apology is different than a written one on social media. You can’t convey emotionality like that there. He did that today and also responded to questions. I actually found it totally honest. And it’s not easy to open up like that in a group.”

© dpa-infocom, dpa:230517-99-728496/4 (dpa)

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