— Published 7 May 2021

A president in turmoil

Alfons Hörmann

The timing is bad. Less than three months before the Tokyo Games, the German Olympic Committee (DOSB) is shaken by internal turmoil. The website AroundtheRings reveals that an anounymous open letter, which would come from at least a third of the employees of the committee, denounces a hostile atmosphere and a culture of harassment and bullying. The letter targets Alfons Hörmann (photo above), the chairman of the DOSB, whose departure is clearly requested by its authors. Signed by the “DOSB employees”, the letter explains that “respect and fair play are lacking on a daily basis from our governing bodies, especially our president Alfons Hörmann. Under his leadership, a culture of fear has developed among the employees.” The authors explain that they have gathered some of the employees together over the past few weeks. The discussions revealed “dozens of examples of behavior” that disregarded “any form of respect and decency.” Female employees would notably be “pushed mentally and psychologically beyond the limit.” It is also mentioned that “pens and other objects” are thrown at employees. “Because of these behaviors, some employees have resigned, others are undergoing psychotherapeutic treatment,” the anonymous letter continues. This cannot continue. It must not continue like this. In response to these allegations, the German Olympic Committee only issued a brief statement, where it confirms “the receipt of an anonymous letter sent from a false email account.” Alfons Hörmann, 60, has chaired the DOSB since December 2013. His current office term will end in 2022.