Reinhard Grindel gave up his seat in Germany’s lower house of parliament earlier this year after he became president of the nation’s governing body for soccer, the German Football Association (DFB).
Now the former soccer outsider wants to revolutionize the DFB. The group runs Germany’s top-tier professional soccer league, the Bundesliga, and in recent months has been plagued by a corruption-related scandal.
Earlier this summer, Mr. Grindel was busy in France as Germany’s world champion men’s soccer team competed in the Euro 2016 tournament, also known as the European Championship.
On July 7, Germany was playing against the host country in the tournament semifinals. The 54-year-old was staying with his fellow German functionaries in a four-star hotel in Marseille, a city with a population of 800,000. The harbor was filled to the last berth with yachts. Mr. Grindel looked out at the water and breathed in the warm, salty smell.