Christoph Metzelder investigated over child pornography distribution allegations

On Wednesday German daily Bild reported that former international Christoph Metzelder had been questioned by police over child pornography distribution allegations. At the time of questioning Metzelder was at the Hennef Sport School just outside Cologne.

The former BVB and Schalke 04 defender decided not to answer any questions according to several press reports in Germany. Metzelder’s home and offices in Düsseldorf were searched by police. The investigators secured one mobile phone and computer equipment.

According to Spiegel the investigation has been on-going since August 19th. According to Bild Metzelder supposedly sent 14 images via WhatsApp containing sexual acts performed by children under the age of 14 to a woman. The recipient of the WhatsApp showed the picture to a third person, who suggested that she should contact the police.

As the woman is living in Hamburg, it is the Hamburg police who are investigating the matter. Metzelder was detained  by the police.

Consequences

After the allegations against Metzelder became public, his current employer, the German broadcaster ARD, decided to suspend the former defender until the allegations were fully investigated. The DFB is currently also discussing if the 38-year-old should be suspended or dropped from finishing his coaching badges.

Metzelder is also a board member at third tier club SC Preussen Münster and president of the Regionalliga side TuS Haltern. Christoph Strässer, president of Preussen Münster, told the press:

“We regard the legal concept of innocent until proven guilty as one of the most vital elements within the rule of law. We have the outmost trust in the way the rule of law is practised and the responsible authorities.”

A spokesperson for TuS Haltern told Bild regarding the allegations concerning Metzelder:

“We at TuS Haltern were shocked when we heard about the news. We hope and we are convinced that the allegations won’t be confirmed.”

Christoph Metzelder works as the coach of TuS Haltern’s U19 side. Furthermore, the former Schalke and Dortmund player has been working on projects involving disadvantaged youths through his Christoph Metzelder Stiftung(Foundation).

Reactions

So far none of Metzelder’s former teammates have come forward to comment on the allegations in the press. Former Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rainer Calmund was willing to comment on the matter when he was questioned by Bild:

“The news shocked me! But, I can say that both me and everyone I talked with who knows Christoph well, have never seen any such tendencies.”

An anonymous source at the DFB told Spiegel that the entire football association was shocked:

“The news and the severity of the allegations have been like a sucker punch for us. It simply blows the mind.”

Metzelder was considered to be among the candidates to take over as DFB president after Rainer Grindel resigned. Given that the former defender has worked within German club football at lower levels, his experience as a national team player and Bundesliga player and his work for the DFL made Metzelder a prime candidate according to several reports back then.

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Niklas Wildhagen

Niklas is a 33-year-old football writer and podcaster who has been following the Bundesliga and German football since the early 90s. You can follow him on Twitter, @normusings, and listen to his opinions on @TalkingFussball.

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