The president of Germany’s Football Association (DFB) Fritz Keller on Tuesday apologised publicly for making a Nazi reference when talking to his vice president in a meeting last week, saying it had been a “grave mistake.”

Keller referred to vice president Rainer Koch, a civil judge, as “Freisler”, a reference to prominent Nazi judge Roland Freisler, a participant at the 1942 Wannsee Conference where the Nazis laid out their “final solution” plan to exterminate the Jews.

Keller has had strained relations with several other senior DFB members, including Koch, who along with general secretary Friedrich Curtius were part of a tax evasion probe last year that included police raids on the association’s headquarters.

“With my remark during the board meeting last Friday towards my first vice president Rainer Koch I committed a grave mistake,” Keller said in a statement.

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