Schalke appointing Heidel as managing director from 2016-17

Associated Press

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany (AP) — Schalke is replacing managing director Horst Heldt with his Mainz counterpart Christian Heidel at the end of the season.

“We’re convinced that Christian Heidel is the right man for Schalke with his undisputed competence and experience in sporting matters, his proven leadership and his positive aura,” Schalke chairman Clemens Toennies said on Sunday.

Schalke’s supervisory board approved Heidel’s appointment as sports and communication director with effect from the 2016-17 season. The 52-year-old Heidel presented his concept to the board at its extraordinary meeting earlier Sunday.

“I myself got the answers that I would have wanted,” Heidel said.

Some minor details remained to be settled between the parties.

Mainz said on its website that Heidel was getting a contract to 2020 in Gelsenkirchen. The club had already agreed to terminate his contract, which ran to 2017, once the current season ended.

Heldt, who had held the position at Schalke since March 2011, was also to continue to fulfill his contractual obligations to the end of the season.

“These of course include, like for the last months, personnel decisions for the new season,” Schalke said in a statement.

Heidel is the longest-serving general manager in the Bundesliga, taking over at Mainz in 1992 and twice overseeing promotion to the Bundesliga, in 2004 and 2009. He appointed Juergen Klopp as coach in 2001 and Thomas Tuchel in 2009. Heidel also oversaw the construction of Mainz’s new stadium in 2011, the expansion of its youth training facilities and an increase in revenue to more than 100 million euros this season.

Werder Bremen sporting director Rouven Schroeder was the club’s preferred candidate to take over if Heidel’s expected departure was confirmed.