IIs it lucky for the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) that the Hörmann affair seems to be over? “Not punishable” is the report published on Wednesday by a commission of inquiry into the behavior of the former DOSB president, his presidium and board of directors between May and December 2021. The boss was primarily accused in an anonymous email in spring last year , to have created a “culture of fear” in the association.
The attack was followed by an elaborate attack by the Hörmann faction, which was costly for the DOSB. That failed enormously, also to the detriment of a former board member. But according to the reporters, the lawyer Christa Thiel and the former judge at the Federal Court of Justice Clemens Basdorf, it is not enough for claims for recourse. There will probably be no legal disputes.
Sports officials expressed their disappointment at the “too harmless” result to the FAZ. There was also talk of “inadequate transparency”. But there will be no riot. Organized sport rather wishes that the story ended here. It only starts at this point: The 41-page template touches on a value that cannot be sued for in any court in the world, but is also essential for sport: respect.
Eight months working time for report
What do you have to conclude when the new DOSB leadership praises “fairness, transparency and appreciation” in the introduction to the most recent presentation of the Hörmann case? If she literally puts “the needs of the employees at the center”, wants to “build trust”, wants to define “binding rules for the documentation and filing of processes”? That apparently the reverse conclusion applies to the examined time in the Hörmann era. Admittedly, this is nothing more than an interpretation.
Especially since the report by Christa Thiel and Clemens Basdorf repeatedly weighs up cases of misconduct and the circumstances that favor them, great, diligent commitment by Hörmann and colleagues, and the desire to be persecuted. Striking keywords, nuances and comments stick: “chaotic” and “panic” in the “largely unsuccessful” crisis management, resistant to advice, hardly self-critical, fixated on the idea that behind the anonymously made allegations there is only an intrigue. Blindly relying on the Bar Council to commission expensive, “poorly productive” research such as language reports. Too little interest in the formulated concerns and needs of employees.
Thiel and Basdorf would have liked to have received more data and information during their eight-month working period since the end of January, for example from the DOSB ethics committee, which last year recommended Hörmann and the then Executive Committee a new election because the distrust in the association was so pronounced, almost one vote of confidence. Data protection reasons are said to have prevented this, to the disappointment of the duo.
Very clear statement and not confused
However, in contrast to the ethics committee, it is determined on one question: It considers that Hörmann had thrown a pen at an employee who is said to have disturbed a lecture as “proven”. How did the duo come up with this and other delicate details? The combination of a renowned criminal lawyer and a lawyer with a large network in organized sport, Christa Thiel was, among other things, Vice President of the DOSB (also under Hörmann), offers different perspectives and insights. It is conceivable that there were not only around twenty video meetings with those affected, but also numerous telephone calls and research that brought meaningful “little things” to light.