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Wolfgang Niersbach: From Fan via Journalist to President

The 61 year old Wolfgang Niersbach was elected as the new president of the German Football Association (DFB, Deutsche Fussball Bund) at an extraordinary federation meeting in Frankfurt/Main on Friday. The election was made necessary as now former presi...

61 year old Wolfgang Niersbach was elected as the new president of the German Football Association (DFB, Deutsche Fussball Bund) at an extraordinary federation meeting in Frankfurt/Main on Friday. The election was made necessary as now former president Theo Zwanziger had announced that he would leave office ahead of the end of his term in October 2013 due to personal reasons.

Niersbach is the 11th president of the DFB and after his election said, “I have great respect for the office. At the same time, I am looking forward to this great task. Many great men have made the DFB what it is today… to continue that work is a great gift for me.”

Niersbach reiterated the points which he had made before the election that he would continue to promote youth and women’s football; fight against any form of racism, discrimination and violence; and further help in the development of the national team.

With the election of Wolfgang Niersbach someone with an interesting vitae has become DFB president, whose career in football can be seen as inspiration.

Niersbach was born in Rommerskirchen, close to Dusseldorf in 1950. One of the first football events he remembers was that in 1972 he went as a fan to Brussels Heysel Stadium to watch West Germany beat the Soviet Union 3-0 in the final of the European Championships. After finishing his studies he joined the sports news agency SID covering football and ice-hockey besides later on being editor of the stadium magazines of Fortuna Düsseldorf and ice-hockey club Düsseldorfer EG.

Niersbach was chief press officer of the 1988 European Championships in West Germany, thereafter he joined the DFB’s press department – the highlight being the 1990 FIFA World Cup triumph where he was the press officer. He stayed with the DFB media department until 2001 when he went and joined the 2006 FIFA World Cup organising committee.

Following the successful 2006 FIFA World Cup Niersbach returned to the DFB as its Director and in October 2007 he became DFB General Secretary before now taking over as the DFB president.

Niersbach has said numerous times in the past that he has made it from being a simple football fan to the highest levels of football administration. Now he heads the biggest single country sporting body in the world with over 6 Million members.

Published with permission from Arunava Chaudhuri.

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