News of Christian Seifert's resignation sent shockwaves through the German footballing world on Monday. According to one of the Bundesliga's most respected senior footballing figures, finding a replacement will not be easy.
It seemed an odd choice in the summer of 2005. Back then, the DFL opted to install a pure media man as its league president. Christian Seifert, then in his thirties, had previously only done promotional marketing work for MTV Europe and Germany's Karstadt department store chain. He had no previous experience in football.
A decade and a half later, it's difficult to imagine to imagine life without the 51-year-old. Seifert understandably wishes to take a step back after what has surely been a very demanding and stressful year. The DFL boss oversaw the most ambitious sporting global restart project when he brought all three German Bundesliga professional footballing tiers (not to mention the women's league) back before any other country dared to do so.
The German Bundesliga blazed a path out of the 2020 COVID thicket, in the process providing the rest of the world a model template to do the same. BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke noted this and other accomplishments in an interview with the Deutsche Presse-Agentur.
"Christian Seifert's 2022 exit shall be a bitter loss for the Bundesliga," Watzke told Germany's Associated Press Agency, "I can only speak of his work with the utmost respect."
Regarding the search for a new DFL boss, Watzke could only remark that it shall prove quite difficult. "German professional football is now called upon to find a suitable successor," he continued, "but replacing a man like Seifert, who has worked for football at the highest level for so long will prove difficult on a like-for-like basis."
As noted above, Seifert himself had not previously worked in football when he took the job. In very different times, it's difficult to see the DFB taking a chance on a neophyte again.