18th October 2021

German ice hockey federation takes legal action over allegations

The German ice hockey federation (DEB) has rejected allegations suggesting ‘questionable payments’ involving Franz Reindl, its President, as unfounded. The allegations were initially published by Der Spiegel in early June ahead of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Presidential election, in which Reindl lost out as a candidate to replace René Fasel to Luc Tardif. The DEB has retained law firm Verte to ‘clarify the facts’ behind the allegations against Reindl.

‘According to the DEB, the DOSB [German Olympic committee] Ombudsman, Attorney Felix Rettenmaier, was not responsible for accepting the submission of the so-called whistleblower, according to information from the Ethics Committee’, read a statement. ‘Why he took action anyway and prepared his Report of 9 October will have to be carefully examined. 

‘It is also unacceptable that submissions to the DOSB Ombudsman for good governance matters and the forwarding to the DOSB Ethics Committee became publicly known, and known by the media, before the association concerned has been informed. From a data protection point of view, it is also unacceptable that the whistleblower’s documents were not made available to the DEB despite repeated requests.

‘The DEB is taking legal action against the reporting of Der Spiegel. According to our assessment, the report of 24 September [the eve before the IIHF elections, which since appears to have been taken down] is illegal for several reasons. Amongst other things, it contains the false assertion that the Report mentions an initial suspicion regarding allegations against Mr. Reindl. In fact, nowhere in the Report does it mention any initial suspicion regarding allegations against Mr. Reindl. The quotes ascribed to to the DOSB Ombudsman are not in the Report. We look forward to Der Spiegel’s explanation.

‘The IIHF has opened proceedings against Mr. Wolff-Dietrich Prager, First Chairman of the Schleswig-Holstein State Ice Sports Association, for manipulating the IIHF elections. It was warned him in writing and passed the matter on to the IIHF Ethics Committee because Mr. Prager was behaving in an unfair and unacceptable manner. 

‘On the night before the elections to the IIHF Presidium and IIHF Council, from 24-25 September, Mr. Reindl’s competitors for election as IIHF President, and some of the IIHF voters were forwarded the misrepresentations reported in Der Spiegel, which damaged Mr. Reindl and the entire German ice hockey team. The DEB is also preparing legal action against Mr. Prager.’

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