“Mv” turns 80: power man and multifunctional

"I was in the trenches almost every day, poison arrows were whizzing around me," the powerhouse and multi-functionalist once said proudly and confidently about his day-to-day battles.

Whether as president of vfb stuttgart and the german soccer association (DFB) or as a CDU minister in the country, mayer-vorfelder brilliantly managed to hold on to various top positions for years despite extreme headwinds. His strong track record, tactical savvy and glittering network helped him, even though he was a hard-nosed and often uncompromising conservative. "I was an argumentative politician," said the jubilarian in an interview with the dpa news agency.

"I was always who i was – with all my good and not so good sides. When you have rough edges, hold certain views and don’t wobble around like a blade of grass in the wind, that naturally leads to not only having friends but also many opponents," is how the man with the catchy "MV" brand acronym described himself. "I am proud that i have not allowed myself to be bent over the years."

Mayer-vorfelder not only represented extremely conservative political positions, he also cultivated a sometimes high-handed style of leadership. At the same time, the passionate chain smoker and quarter-smoker was shirt-armed and cordial, populist and at times quite popular. Impressive was the incredible workload he managed even before his retirement from the rough and tumble of the football stage at well over 70 years of age. "Sometimes it’s become a lot. I was on the road non-stop," he admitted.

Mayer-vorfelder was elected on 3. Born in mannheim in 1933 as the son of a senior government official. After studying law in freiburg and heidelberg, he moved to wurttemberg for work, first as a government councilor in nurtingen in 1959. After moving to the ministry of the interior, the ambitious and intelligent lawyer started his political career as personal advisor to the then head of department and later minister president hans filbinger.

After various intermediate steps on the political career ladder, mayer-vorfelder finally made the leap to the ministerial chair in 1980: first in the area of culture and sports; from 1991 to 1998, he headed the baden-wurttemberg ministry of finance. As in sports, the CDU man survived a series of scandals largely unscathed. In 2004, however, the stuttgart administrative court ordered him to pay back 13,511 euros in transitional pay. Mayer-vorfelder had received a compensation payment after his ministerial tenure as president of vfb stuttgart.

With the "reds," the "blacks" had the say for a quarter of a century. After a kind of putsch, mayer-vorfelder – at that time with unusually long hair – loved to be elected president in 1975 and left the bundesliga club with a mountain of debt of around 15 million euros when he resigned in 2000. Sporting highlights were the two championship titles (1984, 1992), a DFB cup victory (1997), the advance to the final of the UEFA cup (1989) and the final of the european cup winners’ cup (1998).

"MV" once saw himself, according to his own assessment, "in all modesty as a stroke of luck for the vfb". The traditional swabian club was the object of the badener’s fervent love of soccer. However, according to his own statements, he achieved his "life’s goal" as president of the DFB (2001-2006) with the organization of the 2006 world cup in his own country: "that was the greatest experience of my life."The "summer march" was at the same time the final whistle for the "last patriarch" who had already been deposed (FAZ).

After the botched european championships in 2004 and his unsuccessful attempt to hire ottmar hitzfeld as national coach, mayer-vorfelder was forced to make a compromise at the world’s largest sports association: to avoid being voted out of office, he had to accept theo zwanziger as a partner in the new dual leadership. "Of course MV and I … Some straubchen fought out, but that is cleared and forgotten. In the meantime, he has long since become a friend of mine," said zwanziger about his departure.

With ministerial posts, a seat in the state parliament, a party function and the office of vfb president, the busy father of four was obviously not yet at full capacity. He has also held numerous other important and influential positions and offices: chairman of the DFB league committee (1986 – 2000), member of the FIFA executive committee (1992 – 1998 and 2002 – 2007), member of the FIFA organizing committee for the 2006 world cup (2001 – 2006), UEFA executive member (2000 – 2009) and UEFA vice-president (2007 – 2009). The fact that the world governing body appointed him an honorary member in 2007 underscores the outstanding position of the fubball legend. "I am happy as can be. Life has been good to me," he said with satisfaction.

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