German team manager Oliver Bierhoff fears for football's future


Oliver Bierhoff, Team Manager of the German national football team, admits he is worried for the future of the game unless major changes are not made to how football is governed. Widespread allegations of corruption has brought football's governing body, FIFA, to its knees in recent months culminating in the suspension of president Sepp Blatter and vice president Michel Platini. While both vehemently deny any wrongdoing, the claims have further damaged FIFA's already-battered reputation and has left Bierhoff fearing the worst ahead of next year's presidential election on February 26. Speaking exclusively to Sports Tonight, Bierhoff said: "Well, of course I am afraid, because I think what has been happening in football over the last few months isn't good, and we have to pay attention to ensure that fans don't identify the sport with this. "At the moment, I don't see a solution. But of course we have to find one where the people really feel that it is a new start. We need a clean slate and to start from scratch. "We need to build it up again because it's such a beautiful sport. It's also commercial which is normal just like other professional sports. But it has to be clean."

Bierhoff on FIFA

In an exclusive interview with Sports Tonight last month, Brazilian legend Zico confirmed he was interested in succeeding Blatter as FIFA president and voiced his belief that only someone who had played the game would be suitable for the role. It's a view Bierhoff does not agree with. "I don't think so," he said. "I have worked 11 years for the German Football Association which in a certain way, is a political institution. And I understand that having only experience as a player and within a team that you don't know anything about how things work. "Of course it's helpful that you've played the game. It's also helpful that you're prominent; that you have a voice, that you're authentic. But you need to be very smart and have a lot of experience or you have good consultants that help you to move in these political areas." Having played an integral role in the revolution of German football over the last 14 years and overseen the development of the DFB youth academy, which he calls Germany's "Silicon Valley of football", would he ever consider putting his administration skills to good use at FIFA? "No," he says with a smile. "I like working in the operations. And this academy is my baby. It's such a great, interesting project. I love working with the national team and with the academy."

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