DESG boss Matthias Große
Photo: Matthias Koch / imago images / Matthias Koch
The former boss of the world football federation Fifa, Joseph Blatter, once said almost in astonishment at a sensational press conference on the state of Fifa: »Crisis?
What kind of crisis? ”At that time the association was in severe turmoil, it was 2015, the corruption affair almost tore FIFA into the abyss, but the president could not see a crisis.
Matthias Große, the president of the German speed skating and short track association DESG, loves comparing soccer games, he likes to mention his friendship with the former Schalke coach Huub Stevens.
He would probably be reluctant to be compared with Blatter, but the situation on Friday was a bit reminiscent of the exclamation at the time when Grosse announced to the press with conviction: "This association has no crisis, the crisis is over."
In the past few weeks, after a good six months of presidency, the headlines about the DESG were full of great things with all the ingredients of a crisis: There were resignations and layoffs almost on a weekly basis. the treasurer only lasted three months.
Four sprinters with top man Joel Dufter at the helm wrote an open letter in which they vented their displeasure that Grosse did not want to keep their trainer busy.
The association replied with the threat that such behavior would be "harmful to the association" and would have consequences.
And that's just the short version of the past few months.
"We lifted the DESG ship from the bottom of the ocean."
From Große's point of view, however, these are mainly cleanup work: "We have lifted the DESG ship from the bottom of the ocean," he said on Friday and then had his sports officer, Nadine Seidenglanz, read out a whole list of names that the association will be in the future would reinforce various offices.
From the president's point of view, these are necessary changes: "We don't want coaches who ski somewhere while their athletes are running." And in general things are now looking up with the new people: "We have selected the best of the best."
With the most important personnel of a new national coach, however, there is still a temporary solution: the veteran Helge Jasch, long-time team boss in German speed skating, is to look after the athletes until the Olympic Games in Beijing.
Große said: "Jasch is a pillar of the association."
Sprinter Joel Dufter is one of the signatories of an open letter to Große
Photo: Peter Dejong / AP
A few months ago, Leon Kaufmann-Ludwig also believed that he could do his part to support the DESG.
The former short tracker had agreed in the summer to work as an assistant national trainer in the DESG.
But in the fall he quit his job in frustration, there was no communication with Große, and he wasn't paid either.
“Based on the experience from the processes, not just about myself, I actually no longer have any expectations of this association management,” the 24-year-old told SPIEGEL.
Backing from the top of the DOSB
Kaufmann-Ludwig attests to the new head of the association, "Big guys don't do it badly when it comes to marketing, but that is above all self-marketing." He also sees no progress on the short track: promises were made, "but the actions so far say the opposite" .
Kaufmann-Ludwig is not surprised that the big guys still get the backing of Alfons Hörmann, the boss of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB): “It's a similar management style.” Hierarchically, from above.
Attacks that Grosse rejects: "We are a transparent association, we accept any discussion," he said.
Dagmar Freitag, the chairwoman of the sports committee in the Bundestag, hears such announcements with skepticism.
The SPD politician, who has dealt critically with Große critics in the past, sees the association "on a difficult path," she told SPIEGEL.
In view of the numerous resignations in the previous weeks, "in my impression, so far one cannot speak of a consolidation or calming within the association."
From their perspective, Wolf's resignation in particular speaks "a clear language", in view of the already approaching Beijing Winter Games, the unclear personnel situation is "an untenable situation," says Freitag.
Members of the sports committee had recently expressed concern about the situation in the DESG and announced that the committee would deal with the situation in February.
"Hopefully we will get enlightening answers to our questions there," says Freitag.
The athletes should compete in Beijing in a little over a year, a period that Kaufmann-Ludwig also believes is tight: "Everything has to be right for our people to qualify," he says.
And one is still a long way from "fitting everything".
Große often cites FC Bayern as a role model, "but they have top conditions and not conditions like in the district league," says Kaufmann-Ludwig.
This soccer comparison shouldn't please Matthias Große.
Icon: The mirror