FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — The chief executive of the German Olympic committee said Friday she will step down as the organization faces a backlash over an attempt to identify the author of an anonymous letter which criticized how it was run.

The letter was published in May by anonymous employees of the organization, known as the DOSB, and claimed there was a “climate of fear” among staff. President Alfons Hörmann was accused in the letter of putting psychological pressure on employees and taking a lax attitude to coronavirus regulations.

Hörmann said in June he wouldn't run for re-election in December after eight years in charge when he faced a vote of confidence. Chief executive Veronika Rücker will now also leave Dec. 31, she and Hörmann said in a joint statement Friday.

A former board member, Karin Fehres, said she received a letter urging her to admit to writing the anonymous letter and threatening possible legal action, in a response first published this week by Germany's FAZ newspaper. Fehres said she did not write the letter.

Rücker and Hörmann defended the attempt to identify the letter's author alongside an investigation into management and the working environment at the DOSB but said it “appears disproportionate in hindsight.” They said they had been following legal advice when they commissioned a linguistic analysis to try to find the author.


More AP sports: and