GFL: Cologne Crocodiles & HC David Odenthal split due to “Irreconcilable Differences”

The 2022 semi-finalist Cologne Crocodiles have officially put a end a turbulent off-season as on-going discussions with head coach David Odenthal have apparently reached a bitter ending with the two groups parting ways. Cologne’s board mentioned “Irreconcilable differences” that have come up as the two parties have debated the team’s planned budget in 2023.

“Irreconcilable differences have now arisen both in the concrete implementation of the agreements and through the ongoing behavior that is damaging to the association and the corresponding statements by David Odenthal – internally and, above all, externally.”

Following a very successful season under first-year head coach David Odenthal, he and his entire staff initially resigned in January after weeks of disagreements with the club’s management. Much of the GFL roster had also announced that they would no longer play for the Crocodiles next season if these issues weren’t resolved. Odenthal gave his reasoning then for resigning (via Kolnisch Rundschau)

 “You can’t put together a competitive Premier League team with the budget that’s been given to us.”

“We, the coaching staff of the GFL team, are resigning from our offices with effect from December 31, 2022. The reasons for this are manifold and complex. Since this is not an easy and short-term decision, we fought long and hard internally. We are aware of the difficult situation of a GFL team at the moment, but we were very surprised at how little concession and will we received with regard to planning for 2023. Rather, we were given a very short decision corridor to either accept drastic reductions or to end the cooperation.”

Although there was plenty of on-field success for head coach David Odenthal and the players, the board was not apparently not prepared for two expensive road playoff games in 2022 costing the team thousands in additional travel expenses. In addition, there were unforeseen expenses as import players were paid several performance bonuses as well as the extra month of salary. Dirk Ghadamgahi, the Crocodiles sports director, briefly touches on the club’s financial situation:

“We can only spend what we actually have and don’t want to go into debt next season. The budget for the first team in 2023 is identical to that of 2022. The GFL team receives 95 percent of the total budget, which consists of sponsorship money and membership fees. “

However, after a lengthy discussion mediated by Cologne businessman and former Crocodiles player Wolfgang von Moers, the two sides had again decided to work together for the 2023 seasons. Although a decision was initially reached it seems as though certain internal financial goals had not been reached according to the Crocodiles:

“After an intensive appointment mediated by our main sponsor, there was hope that we have now found a compromise that is acceptable to all sides and on this basis a successful season can be realised. Unfortunately, this hope has not been fulfilled despite intensive efforts on the part of the association and the meanwhile decent financial situation.”

Yet there was a change of heart, as Cologne and Odenthal officially parted ways on Sunday.

“Therefore, after intensive consultations and with the backing of the main sponsor, the board of directors decided today that the club should part with David Odenthal in his function as head coach of our GFL team with immediate effect.”

It seems as if the Crocodiles board was expecting this result as they have already been in talks with several candidates for the HC position:

“Due to the escalation of the situation, initial, very positive talks have already been held with a very experienced and well-known top head coach. As soon as the whole thing is in “dry cloths”, we will of course inform you immediately.”

“Despite everything, we would like to thank David for his commitment to the GFL team in recent years and the successful 2022 season.” -Via Cologne Crocodiles Management

Alex is a former NCAA and semi-pro American football player who is now located in London, where he works in digital marketing. His goal in writing for AFI is to stay involved with the game that has given him so much. Alex enjoys covering leagues and