Schalke president steps down following racism allegations

Author: BBC Sport
Schalke president Clemens Toennies

Schalke president Clemens Toennies has stepped down for three months following allegations of racism.

Toennies told a news conference last week that more power stations should be built in Africa instead of increasing taxes to protect the environment.

"Then the Africans would stop cutting down trees and produce babies when it is dark," the 63-year-old added.

However, the German club said claims of racism were "unfounded", despite calls for Toennies to resign.

Several former Schalke players have criticised Toennies' comments, with Ghana-born former Germany forward Gerald Asamoah saying they left him "speechless".

"His comments surprised me, shocked me and injured me. He is insulting me and everyone else involved," added the 40-year-old.

Toennies - the owner of a meat processing company - said he wanted to "explicitly apologise" in an earlier statement, adding he stood by the club's values "1,000%".

"This includes the fight against racism, discrimination and exclusion," he added.

However, following a meeting of Schalke's honorary board on Tuesday, Toennies acknowledged he had "violated" the club's anti-discrimination rules.

"He once again expressed his regret," said a statement from the Bundesliga club, which added that Toennies would resume his role on the board after three months.