Wolfgang Niersbach has been elected as the new president of the German Football Association (DFB).
He succeeds Dr Theo Zwanziger, who has stepped down after outstanding service since 2004. The former DFB general secretary was elected by the 256 delegates at the German association's extraordinary general assembly in Frankfurt on Friday.
"I have great respect for the office but, at the same time, I am looking forward to this great task," said Mr Niersbach. "Many big personalities before me have made the DFB what it is today. To continue this and to be able to make a difference for football is a big gift for me."
The 61-year-old started his career as a sports journalist in football and ice hockey before joining the DFB for EURO '88. Later, as vice-president of the local organising committee, he played a major part in the success of the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, before becoming DFB general secretary in October 2007.
Before his election, Mr Niersbach introduced his programme to the delegates, in which he wished to strengthen the unity of football, align the association in a forward-looking way and strengthen the core business, and to be able to continue to exercise the association's social responsibility role in an effective and credible manner.
The new DFB president emphasised the cooperation between professional football and the grassroots as the foundation for the successful development of the game. "The national team is the best example to all of us of how professional and amateur football complement each other and can profit from each other," he said. "And by their demeanour, they show us all how self-evident integration and tolerant togetherness can be. My wish is that this example can work as a role model for the whole of football."
He also mentioned that the expansion of youth development, a service-oriented, innovative association and a commitment against any form of racism, discrimination, corruption and violence, were part of his goals.
At the assembly, Dr Zwanziger, a vastly respected football administrator who has served on the UEFA Executive Committee since 2009, received the Großen Verdienstkreuz des Verdienstordens der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany) from German interior minister Hans-Peter Friedrich. The minister praised Dr Zwanziger for setting important social priorities during his term of office. "He has showed that the DFB is not only a football association but also a strong component of society."
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