BERLIN (Reuters) - Former German Football Association (DFB) president Reinhard Grindel on Wednesday announced his resignation from the world and European soccer bodies, FIFA and UEFA, after leaving the DFB last week over an expensive gift.
Grindel had had to apologize for accepting an expensive watch from a Ukrainian colleague as a gift, and said he had not known its value.
Now he said he was also leaving his UEFA Vice Presidency and his seat on the FIFA Executive Council.
“I am mainly interested in protecting the good name of UEFA,” he said in a statement. I also do not want to burden FIFA on its path to more transparency and good governance.”
Grindel, who took over the world’s biggest sports federation by membership in 2016, had come under pressure over income he received from a DFB subsidiary and a watch he had been given by Ukrainian businessman and soccer administrator Grigory Surkis.
While denying any wrongdoing, Grindel said last week he had been unaware that the watch was worth 6,000 euros ($6,750.00).
On Wednesday he again said he had done nothing wrong and that there had been no conflict of interest.
During his time as DFB chief, Grindel was criticized for his handling of the case of German national player Mesut Ozil, who had his photograph taken alongside Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan prior to last year’s World Cup.
Ozil retired from the national team after Germany’s shock first round exit and said he had faced “racism and disrespect” because of his Turkish roots.
Grindel criticized Germany coach Joachim Loew last month after he dropped Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Mueller from the national team, before rowing back on his comments.
($1 = 0.8889 euros)
Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Kevin Liffey