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October 11, 2005
The King in the Imperator City

Visit of Otto Rehhagel to the 2005 annual meeting of Sports Media Austria held in Bad Ischl.
It is a tradition that every year the annual meeting of Sports Media Austria has a star guest. In the past it has been former Formula-1-driver Niki Lauda (2000), “Kaiser” Franz Beckenbauer (2001), Paul Breitner and Gerhard Berger (2002), Claudio Gentile (2003) and outstanding referee Pierluigi Collina (in 2004).
This year we invited one of the most successful football coaches in the World: Otto Rehhagel, coach to the European Champions Greece in 2004 and to the Bundesliga German champions Werder Bremen, where he worked for about 14 years.
The Austrian Sports journalists had their meeting from May 22-25 in Bad Ischl, a nice small city in the region of “Salzkammergut”, within lakes and high mountains. This was the summer retreat of the Austrian Imperator Franz Josef and his wife Sissy. As the Imperator City, it was the ideal place to the Executive Committee of Sports Media Austria to choose for the visit of “King Otto”. And Rehhagel came. One reason for his visit was that we also invited two of Otto’s best friends: Andreas Herzog, a former player of Werder Bremen and Austria’s Record holder in National games; and Josef Hickersberger, coach of the Austrian soccer champions Rapid Wien. Our Vice President Hans Hofstätter went to Munich to pick up Rehhagel and his wife Beate. “When we came to St. Wolfgang, Otto started to sing the ´Weißes Rössl´, a very famous song”, Hofstätter said.
More than 100 Austrian sport journalists and four TV-Teams came to the press conference. And they heard some wonderful experiences from Rehhagel, Herzog and Hickersberger.
Rehhagel explained the “wonder of Portugal”, when his Greek Team took the European Title. He added: “ Forty years ago I married my wife Beate – but after three months I did all she wanted!”
Andy Herzog told the story of when he had a chance to transfer from Rapid to Bremen in 1992, Otto and Andy confirmed a meeting at the Frankfurt Sheraton hotel. But Herzog had seen Rehhagel and his wife before in the Airport Terminal.
Andy thought, as a friendly Viennese guy, he must say first “Hello” to Beate Rehhagel. He did, and she asked him: “Nice to meet you. Are you a fast player?” Herzog shocked: “Oh, no!” Then Beate asked: “Are you a good header?” Herzog: “Oh my dear, absolutely NO!” He thought: “Before I can talk to Otto, my chance to get a contract with Werder Bremen is over.”
Rehhagel said how much he enjoyed the stay in Bad Ischl, and the Austrian Sport Journalists enjoyed his stay with them. Otto has a great personality. He likes the Austrian mentality, the landscape and people. So he felt really happy even during those days when not everyone knew who he was.
We gave Beate and Otto special presents - real Bad Ischl dresses! The owner of the dress shop who was born in the same town, Essen as Rehhagel, asked: “Which suit you will like, Mister REHFELDT”. Well anyone can make a mistake!
At the Meeting the members of Sports Media Austria also elected a new executive Committee. Michael Kuhn, following the death of Pepi Strabl in 1997, was elected again for the next four years.
New on the committee is Robert Seeger, president of the AIJS (Association des Journalistes Sportifs du Ski). Dr. Fritz Negrini, now 76 years of age and a former specialist for football, tennis and alpine ski was made an honourary member of Sports Media Austria.
The actual composition of the Executive Comitee of Sports Media Austria is:
President: Michael Kuhn.
Vice Presidents: Hans Hofstätter,
Roland Knöppel, Elmar Oberhauser
First Treasurer: Norbert Wallauch
Second Treasurer: Günter Pfeistlinger
General secretary: Josef Langer
Second Secretary: Karin Klein
Members: Kristian Bissuti, Ossi Felber,
Adi Fürbacher, Stefan Grüneis, Robert Seeger, Franz Simonic, Michael Smejkal,
Fred Steinacher, Leo Strasser,
Wolfgang Winheim
Finance control: Hans Etlinger, Rainer Fleckl, Hubert Potyka

Josef Langer
General Secretary
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