Schalke chairman quits after winless run and virus cases

Sports

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Schalke chairman Clemens Tönnies stepped down Tuesday following unrest among fans because of the German soccer club’s lengthy winless run and an outbreak of coronavirus at a slaughterhouse owned by his company.

Tönnies leaves after 26 years on the board of the Bundesliga club and 19 as chairman.

In a statement, Schalke and some of its board members praised Tönnies for his passion for the club and his role in developing the stadium and youth facilities. The statement did not say why Tönnies had chosen to step down.

A group of up to 1,500 Schalke fans formed a human chain to protest against club management ahead of the final game of the season on Saturday. That 4-0 loss to Freiburg marked Schalke’s 16th straight Bundesliga game without a win.

A coronavirus outbreak in and around a slaughterhouse operated by Tönnies’ family business led to German authorities imposing fresh lockdown measures on the local area last week.

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