Peter Fischer – Authenticity, attitude and the important things in life
Words: Sascha Plecic
Translation: Katy Hastings
Photography: Aurélia Marine
October 17, 2023
Peter Fischer is one of those people… for decades he has fought courageously and offensively against xenophobia, especially the German far-right party AfD with its intellectually comfortable supporters. The boss of Europa League winner Eintracht Frankfurt consistently uses the publicity available to him, sacrificing his privacy for it – and that of his family, whose protection he now puts on priority level one. In February 2024, he will step down from his post in order to have more time for his loved ones and his little paradise in Ibiza. I spoke to the 67-year-old about authenticity, attitude and the important things in life that really matter.
“I can only represent a role that I stand for,” Peter Fischer replies to my astonishment that he was so cordial and accommodating to me during our first encounter at the Eroski City Center, between the Marina-Botafoch-Talamanca roundabout and the Jesús junction.
While paying at the checkout, we talked animatedly about the successful Cup quarter-final, the beauty of the island and his attachment to it, and laughed about the vegetables Peter had forgotten to weigh. He then wrote his mobile phone number on the only general business card available, using a biro borrowed from the cashier. With the note that we should plan our reunion well. Because Peter has problems with his foot at the moment and has to go to the doctor almost every day. A rarely pleasantly disarming conversation between two people who had never met before.
“No matter whether it’s about my socio-political attitude, my values or my position on Eintracht – I’m authentic in any case. A presidency is nothing more than a temporary title. With a person like Peter Fischer, who has learned something in his life. Honesty and decency, for example. Things that are self-evident to me and cannot simply be handed over in the cloakroom.”
It quickly becomes clear that the successful entrepreneur, who on 15 May 2023 was invited by audience favourite Dunja Hayali to be her farewell presenter of the ZDF flagship “Das Aktuelle Sportstudio” after 41 broadcasts in five years, went through a tough school of life.
“I’ve steered clear of this subject for 25 years, Sascha – but I’ll tell you.” Peter takes a short breath. “I lost my father when I was eight, mum got married again, I wasn’t adopted – there were a lot of things that weren’t good in my childhood. But there’s no point in constantly asking yourself ‘why’ – and how unfair everything was. At a certain point you have to have strength, energy and head to develop yourself, not to drown (Fischer gets energetic) in miserable self-pity.”
He says there are many people who live in the past and hardly notice the present or changes, not to mention perspective thinking. “I try to influence what I can in the here and now – my opinion is based on actuality. Of course, there are pasts that one must always remember and stand up against – like the cruel Third Reich,” says Fischer – and he does, vehemently. His fight against the AfD is as exemplary as it is selfless. Its protagonists are miles inferior to him in terms of argumentation and charisma, which is why they want to damage Fischer anonymously on the net or through constructed false accusations with media effect.
Like recently a local high-ranking official who opened an investigation against Fischer, a Frankfurt citizen, for alleged possession of cocaine – and was suspended from his office with immediate effect after a humiliating, publicly made and unsuccessful house search. The absurd complaint was dropped just like the countless others from the same corner before. For example, when Klaus Herrmann and Robert Lambrou, AfD state spokesperson of Hesse, filed criminal charges against Fischer. For insult, defamation and slander. Reasoning: nobody should be favoured or disadvantaged because of political views (Basic Law 3.3), which applies especially to non-political areas of life such as sport. The public prosecutor’s office discontinued the preliminary proceedings with reference to freedom of expression.
“The private person Peter Fischer has not existed for a long time because I do what I think is right and necessary so loudly and consistently. Of course I have to deal with the headwind somehow, even if it admittedly often hurts. Then my family gives me support, reminding me what an emotional, empathetic person I am. If I used to go clubbing and partying, that doesn’t mean I’m still doing it at 67. It’s disconcerting when people talk publicly about alleged party tours that took place twenty years ago. Or about sightings in a Porsche that I don’t own. I haven’t seen the inside of a club for years. I’ve long been happy when I’m at home and can put my feet up – my loved ones, crisps and chocolate within reach. That is happiness for me. Or when I’m at my beloved Casa Munich Ibiza, where I’ve found a little paradise. My piece of dreamland on this earth. Where I love to meet other lovely people with whom I have a great time.”
Fischer raves about the originality of Ibiza: “I support these places where people from all different social backgrounds meet somewhere in the countryside or on the beach around a big table. With paella and a bottle of wine where it is not extortionate prices. Bar Anita, for example, in San Carlos or the joint at Aguas Blancas.”
He says with a twinkling gleam in his eye: “You know what I often do, Sasha? I buy a grilled chicken, a fresh baguette, white wine, water, a few cans of Coke and go with friends to a nice place, of which there are so many in Ibiza. Not overcrowded, in nature. We eat the chicken with our hands and after sunset we are happy about the beautiful day we spent together. It does me so much good and reminds me of my early days here. Which started with my mate and I looking for the cheapest destination in Spain in 1972 and flying there: Ibiza.”