The controversial africa cleanings, which have now also been deemed "racist" by the DFB ethics committee, will not have any consequences for schalke's supervisory board chairman, clemens tonnies, at least from the german soccer association's side.
The committee waives proceedings against the 63-year-old meat manufacturer. "The decision not to press charges is based first of all on the fact that during the detailed hearing and questioning, mr. Tonnies was able to convincingly convey that he is not a racist," the ethics committee announced.
"We are also firmly convinced that he will never do such a cleanup again in the future. He himself was appalled by this statement," said commission chairman nikolaus schneider to the deutsche presse-agentur. Tonnies issued a statement thanking the board for "the fair proceedings and a very valuable discussion".
A good month ago, as a keynote speaker at the "day of the craft" in paderborn, the head of the schalk supervisory board had criticized tax increases in the fight against climate change. Instead, it would be better to finance 20 power plants a year in africa, says tonnies. "Then the africans stopped cutting down trees, and they stopped producing children when it was dark."
In public, this was sometimes described as racist. "This qualification was rightly made according to general linguistic understanding", the ethics commission under the chairmanship of nikolaus schneider found, thus contradicting the assessment of the schalker honorary council, which had classified the accusation of racism as "unfounded". "His sentence would at least have been capable of supporting racist ideas elsewhere," however, the DFB commission found. However, the commission sees a difference between what tonnies said and what he represents. "It is a basic principle of ethics that we distinguish between person and thing," schneider explained.
Tonnies announced his intention to take a stronger stand against racism and discrimination in the future. "I accept the decision and the evaluations of the ethics commission in every way and with all my heart," it says in its statement, which is available to the german press agency. Tonnies also promised to strengthen his "commitment to the african continent".
In the event of an indictment, tonnies would have had to face the DFB judiciary. There had been the threat of a reprimand, admonishment, fine or, in the worst case, even a ban. He had already escaped a possible dismissal at FC schalke 04. According to the decision of the schalke honorary council, tonnies is currently resting his office for three months instead. The fans of the konigsblauen had at times even called for the complete ban on tonnies at schalke. After the recent calm in the affair, it is now unclear how the fans at the home game on saturday against hertha BSC (15.30 o'clock) react.
Tonnies had already apologized for his statements, calling them "foolish" himself. In front of the commission, tonnies has now also shown sufficient remorse, the DFB panel said. "The commitment he now envisages to fight racism within the work of the dfb and a broader commitment in and for africa is credible to the commission," it continued.
Ethics committee bets that the resulting "public debate" over tonnies "will lead to increased outreach against racism in fubball". In the aftermath of the cleanup, FC schalke set up a contact point where discriminatory incidents, racist, violent or sexist behavior can be reported.