German FA boss Keller offers to step down over Nazi comment

German Football Association (DFB) chief Fritz Keller on Tuesday offered to step down after the end of a sports court hearing next week over a Nazi comment directed at a vice president, with several other top officials set to leave their posts.

Keller, who took over as president in September 2019 with a brief to reform an organisation plagued by scandal over irregular payments, faces a sports court judgment over the comment addressed to vice president Rainer Koch.

"President Fritz Keller in a decision he took himself has declared his principal readiness to step down from his position as president after the end of the process at the DFB sports court on Monday May 17," the DFB said in a statement.

Keller last month referred to Koch, a civil judge, as "Freisler," a reference to notorious Nazi judge Roland Freisler, a participant at the 1942 conference at which the Nazis laid out their "final solution."

He apologised but refused to resign after the DFB's state and regional federations withdrew their confidence in him and urged him to leave.

General secretary Friedrich Curtius, with whom Keller had fought a bitter battle over control within the DFB, will also be leaving.

Keller, the former Freiburg club president, also has had strained relations with several other senior DFB members, including Koch, who, along with Curtius, was investigated in a tax evasion probe last year that included police raids on the association's headquarters.

The DFB said Koch and fellow vice president Peter Peters would remain in their posts and act as interim presidents until a general meeting in early 2022, and Koch would not run for the position again.

Keller is the fourth consecutive president to be tarnished by scandal with his predecessor, Reinhard Grindel, having been forced to resign in 2019 after accepting a luxury watch as a gift from a Ukrainian businessman.

Grindel's own predecessors -- Wolfgang Niersbach and Theo Zwanziger -- were investigated and indicted in Switzerland over a payment for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The DFB is the world's biggest single sports federation with more than seven million registered members.