Dosb boss hormann: the shambles of the power seeker

Dosb boss hormann: the shambles of the power seeker

The power man Alfons Hormann has lost his last fight for the time being. In any case, the president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) has announced his retirement and will not stand for re-election in December; an extraordinary new election that he had initially vehemently resisted. With his intransigent handling of accusations from employees about his allegedly inappropriate management style, Hormann continued to exacerbate the crisis – and now, then, Germany's two largest and most powerful sports federations are struggling to regain their credibility shortly before the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The DOSB just like the German Football Association.

It is not necessarily an accusation to call Hormann a power seeker. Anyone who tries to lead one of the world's largest sports federations must have a good feeling for compromise, alliances and going it alone. Anyone approaching the 60-year-old could gather many another cliche. Each of them indicates the necessary toughness for the office, but taken together they paint a picture of at least a difficult character.

Alfons Hormann, a Bavarian legend

Hormann is from the Allgau, born in Kempten, and likes to see and stage himself as what is commonly referred to in the Free State as a Bavarian "Urgestein". He first earned his money in an executive position in the construction industry. Before Hormann succeeded Thomas Bach, who moved to the IOC, at the DOSB in December 2013, the longtime ski official and DSV president had to deny allegations of violations of antitrust law. An offense he finally admitted to in 2015 and was punished by paying a fine. Hormann's power-seeking gene is also evident in his political activities for the CSU – he was a local councillor and second mayor in Sulzberg, as well as a member of parliament in the district of Oberallgau and chairman of the CSU parliamentary group in the district council.

Hormann likes to let critical questions roll off his back – like a whale that is too big to be moved, let alone hit, by the bustle around it. The cliches and the real personality of a person are such a thing. But if the stereotypes that can be gleaned from the sports official's biography are only partly true, they have now become Alfons Hormann's undoing.

Anonymous accusations against Alfons Hormann

His staff made the accusations against him in an anonymous e-mail, whereupon Hormann told the Press Club in Munich in May: "Because the accusations are anonymous, there is no possibility of approaching people."This is a way of wriggling out of responsibility for obviously toxic working conditions, which are characterized by the fact that a dialog at eye level is no longer possible. The accusation, for example, that he had been throwing pens around, he allowed himself – without having to deny it himself – to be argued away as a "hostile act" by the compliant questioner himself.

Ethics committee judges harshly

The evaluation of the events in the DOSB is very different. CDU sports expert Frank Steffel sees Hormann and the DOSB presidium as victims of machinations: "Through targeted indiscretions and untruths, the entire presidium and board of the DOSB have been permanently damaged."Dagmar Freitag (SPD), Chairwoman of the Sports Committee in the German Bundestag, on the other hand, judges: "The fact that it took the escalation of the last few weeks does not cast a good light on the self-perception of the DOSB President and his confidants in the Presidium and Executive Board."She and Hormann have never been best friends, and now Freitag even reserves the right to "examine legal steps" against Hormann if he does not retract his statement that she and the German Athletes' Association have influenced athlete spokesman Jonathan Koch. The 35-year-old rower had distanced himself from a declaration of honor for Hormann by the DOSB presidium.

The association's internal ethics commission under former Federal Minister of the Interior Thomas De Maizière assessed the work of the DOSB leadership as follows: "It must be stated that the relations of the president/presidium/board with parts of the top associations, with parts of the state associations, with the International Olympic Committee, with the Federal Ministry of the Interior and with important parts of the media urgently need to be improved. Partly there is a lack of basic trust here."

This assessment from the beginning of June apparently got through to Hormann better than the call for help from his staff. It only took a few days for the political instincts of the power seeker to get the upper hand and for Hormann to finally accept defeat. His legacy: a huge shambles that will cost the DOSB some effort to clean up. And raises the question of whether Hormann is still the man to lead the German team to the Olympic Games in Tokyo (starting 23. July) should lead.

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