Last week, the Hertha BSC supervisory board approached Kay Bernstein with a request: whether he could talk to Frank Steffel. Bernstein, who is running for president at Hertha, did the same.
The conversation, he said at the weekend, was factual and content-related, they met as equals, but at least for Frank Steffel the meeting with Bernstein did not lead to the desired result.
His efforts to put together a kind of uniform list for the forthcoming presidential elections at Hertha BSC on Sunday have had only limited success. Steffel was able to persuade Ingmar Pering, the third serious candidate to succeed Werner Gegenbauer, to resign. The lawyer is now running as Steffel’s man for election as Vice President.
With Kay Bernstein, on the other hand, all attempts have come to nothing. Even if the basis of the business has changed significantly as a result of Pering’s withdrawal: “I will stand for election,” the 41-year-old explicitly confirmed to the Tagesspiegel on Tuesday.
Steffel, the former CDU member of parliament and president of the handball Bundesliga club Füchse Berlin, sounded extremely confident on Sunday in this matter. “Let’s see what else happens by Friday,” he said at the fan conference in Neukölln, which was organized around Bernstein by the “Wir Herthaner” initiative.
According to the Supervisory Board’s idea, Steffel should be the non-partisan candidate that everyone can agree on. He himself has set himself the goal of reconciling the deeply divided club – involving the forces that are already responsible. He wooed Bernstein with the words: “You reach people I don’t reach. I reach people you have a hard time reaching.”
According to an insider, Steffel had thought until the last minute that he would be able to persuade his competitor to give in. But Bernstein had already categorically ruled that out in a media round on Sunday after the fan congress. “No, I won’t,” he had said. Nothing changed about that. “Do the members want a consistent new start?” asks Bernstein. “Or is there just a carry on?”
It is now a showdown between Steffel and Bernstein when Hertha meets in the City Cube at the trade fair on Sunday for the extraordinary general meeting. “Frank Steffel or Kay Bernstein? Politician or Hertha? Trade or change?” Bernstein said on Sunday. “Do we want structural change? Or do we want a trade?”
The latest developments are more likely to confirm Bernstein’s camp in the assessment that there is bargaining going on behind the scenes. It was Steffel himself who suggested Pering, his previous competitor, for the post of vice president.
In addition to Steffel and Bernstein, there is a third candidate for the presidency, Marvin Brumme. He has no chance. The same would have applied to Michael Baumgärtner, who – like Pering – has now withdrawn his candidacy.
There are now only two candidates for the post of Vice President. In addition to Pering, this is his colleague on the presidency, Fabian Drescher, who will only take office if Bernstein is elected president. In the event of his failure, Drescher has even announced his complete withdrawal from the presidency. Peer Mock-Stürem, also a member of the Executive Committee, has withdrawn his candidacy for Vice-Presidency.
“I don’t want to judge that at all,” says Bernstein about the new developments. “I didn’t take part in the talks, so I’d be moving on the field of speculation.” Participating in Team Steffel, “that’s not an option for me,” says Bernstein. “Participating would mean: I withdraw. This offer is not fair in terms of content.”