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Germany 'bought' 2006 World Cup bid: reports

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Germany 'bought' 2006 World Cup bid: reports
Franz Beckenbauer (centre) was a key member of the World Cup 2006 application, as was Wolfgang Niersbach (r) now head of the German Football Association (DFB). Photo: DPA
15:42 CEST+02:00
Media reports on Friday alleged that Germany's bid to host the 2006 World Cup was successful thanks to a slush fund set up by the application committee.

High-ranking members of the application committee including legendary 1974 World Cup-winning captain Franz Beckenbauer – Vice-President of the German Football association (DFB) from 1998 to 2010 – were in on the scheme, according to Der Spiegel.

Current DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach was also involved, Spiegel reported.

More than 10 million Swiss francs – 13 million Deutsche Marks at the time – were lent to the bid committee by then-Adidas boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus to bribe four Asian members of the Fifa executive committee ahead of the vote on the 2006 host country in July 2000.

Germany eventually won the bid against South Africa by 12 votes to 11.

The money was allegedly paid back to Louis-Dreyfus by a payment of €6.7 million from the organizing committee to a Fifa account in Geneva, supposedly for a gala in the Berlin Olympic stadium that was later canceled.

In fact, the money was simply transferred to another Swiss account owned by Dreyfus, Spiegel reports.

DFB denies bribery allegations

The DFB said in a press release on Friday that it had itself been investigating the 2006 World Cup bid since a storm of corruption allegations broke over Fifa earlier this year.

"During these checks, the DFB found no evidence of irregularities. Neither was there any evidence that the votes of delegates in relation to the application process were bought," the statement read.

While there had been a payment from the World Cup organizing committee of €6.7 million to Fifa that may have been used for other purposes than intended, "the payment had nothing to do with the awarding of the World Cup that took place five years before."

The DFB said it would try to get the money back from Fifa.

Neither Beckenbauer nor other DFB officials allegedly involved in the bribery responded to questions from Der Spiegel by Friday.

Of the three surviving delegates allegedly bribed during the bid process, two did not respond to requests for comment and the last, South Korean Chung Mong-Joon, said the questions were not worth answering.

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