Both in a video message on YouTube and in a press conference, Thomas Hitzlsperger spoke about the data affair and the public power struggle with President Claus Vogt on Sunday afternoon. The CEO of the VfB Stuttgart asked for patience and expressed himself self-critical about his affront to Vogt.
As soon as VfB Stuttgart is on the pitch, there is a crisis behind the scenes. The focus is on the chairman of the supervisory board, Thomas Hitzlsperger, and club president, Claus Vogt. The latter has hired the external company “Esecon” to clarify the data affair, which is supposed to check whether between 2016 and 2018 membership data was actually passed on to third parties by association employees.
Hitzlsperger took the acquisition of “Esecon” in an open letter at the turn of the year as an opportunity for a sweeping attack on the president. Vogt’s actions have led to “escalating costs” so that “the AG has to support the association in order to protect it from insolvency,” wrote Hitzlsperger among other things.
After a public reply from Vogt and a one-on-one conversation announced by both of them, there was silence, but on Sunday Hitzlsperger spoke up twice. “I was silent for a long time because the last few weeks were really not easy. There are personal allegations against me in the room that really affected me,” he said in a video message on the YouTube platform. These are “unfounded and wrong” and would “reveal a relationship” “in which quoted half-sentences in the media seem to count more than years of good development work.”
“Many demand values here. Then I say: I don’t want an association that immediately pillorys its employees based on media reports without all the facts on the table. I don’t want an association that upholds the principle of the presumption of innocence simply throws it overboard as evidence to the contrary, “said Hitzlsperger. The CEO asks for patience in clearing up the data affair. Consequences will only be drawn when the final report is available: “As soon as the final report is on the table, we will examine the facts very soberly. And we will, where necessary, Draw the consequences. Misconduct or possibly criminal behavior will not be tolerated, “he announced.
In conclusion, Hitzlsperger emphasized that one was acting “in accordance with the law”. “We draw conclusions – but on the basis of facts. In this sense, I will continue to work and would be pleased about your support,” said the 38-year-old.
At the same time, he also spoke at a press conference on Sunday lunchtime about what had happened in recent weeks. “I would never have thought it possible that there would be posters of mine on which I was called a splitter,” said Hitzlsperger in view of the numerous criticisms after the announcement of his candidacy for the presidency (quoted via mannheim24). Now he wants to convince the critics of the opposite: “I think I am someone who likes to work with people. Now it is up to me to endure that and to prove to people that I am the right person and not a divider.”
He was self-critical about the open letter he published on December 30th. “That was definitely not my greatest moment,” said Hitzlsperger, saying that he had let himself be misled by previous tensions. Looking at the general meeting on March 18th, he was combative. “I want the fans to be able to tick it off as an unfortunate chapter – one in which I didn’t present myself well. But I want to show people the Thomas Hitzlsperger that they know again. I will now continue to approach people.”