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WORLD CUP 2006 BRIBERY

FOOTBALL

Ex-DFB boss ‘certain’ of World Cup slush fund

Germany's former football chief Theo Zwanziger Friday said he was certain that there was a slush fund involved in the bidding process of the 2006 World Cup, as questions mounted over a murky €6.7 million payment to FIFA.

Ex-DFB boss 'certain' of World Cup slush fund
Former DFB President Theo Zwanziger. Photo: DPA

“It is clear that there was a slush fund in the German World Cup bidding process,” he told Spiegel magazine in an interview to be published Saturday.

“It is also clear that the current DFB president knew of this already in 2005, and not only a few weeks ago as he claimed,” added Zwanziger, who headed the German Football Association from 2006 to 2012.

“The way I see it, Niersbach is lying,” he claimed.

German football plunged into a crisis over claims in a Spiegel report last week that the 2006 World Cup bidding committee had accepted a 10.3 million Swiss francs (€6.7 million at that time) loan from former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

Spiegel alleges that the loan was used to buy the votes of four Asian members of FIFA's 24-strong executive committee.

At the vote in July 2000 Germany saw off South Africa by 12 votes to 11 to win the right to hold the 2006 World Cup.

DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach. Photo: DPA

 

This week, FIFA also revealed that it had investigated Franz Beckenbauer, although it did not specify on what grounds.

Beckenbauer headed the bidding committee for the 2006 tournament, which is still nostalgically referred to in Germany as the “Sommermaerchen” or summer fairy tale.

At a hastily called press conference on Thursday, Niersbach insisted that there had not been anything shady over the 2002 payment.

The money was actually made upfront to FIFA in order to secure a €170 million subsidy from world football's governing body, he said.

“There was no slush fund, there was no vote buying,” he said.

'Thorough investigation'

Niersbach claimed that in a meeting between Beckenbauer and FIFA chief Sepp Blatter, the German football legend was told the organisation could provide 250 million Swiss francs (then worth approximately €170 million) in subsidies.

He added however that in return “10 million francs must be transferred” to FIFA's finance commission.

Niersbach's claims were quickly refuted by FIFA.

“That the financial support of FIFA World Cup Organising Committees should be coupled to any kind of financial advance payment by the respective organising committee or the relevant football association in no way corresponds to FIFA's standard processes and regulations,” said the governing body in a statement.

FIFA also denied receiving any payment worth €6.7 million from Louis-Dreyfus.

Zwanziger claimed that he now knew where the money was destined for.

In the Spiegel interview, he said he was told last week by Horst R. Schmidt, then World Cup organising committee's vice president, that the disgraced former FIFA vice president Mohamed Bin Hammam was the recipient.

Hammam was in 2014 banned for life from football activities, after being found to have bought votes in an election against Blatter.

Meanwhile, the DFB's top management issued a statement saying that Niersbach would lead the organisation in pursuing “a comprehensive, thorough investigation of all allegations relating to the 2006 World Cup”.

Bundesliga president Reinhard Rauball also said that for “the league and for me personally, it is crucial that everything is cleared up completely, regardless of who it involves.”

“It is essential for German football the light is shed on the truth, even if it leads to painful discoveries,” he said.

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FOOTBALL

British football teams allowed to skip Germany’s quarantine for Euro 2020

Germany's government announced on Tuesday it will allow England, Scotland and Wales to enter the country without quarantine to play at Euro 2020 despite a recent rise in cases linked to the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Britain.

British football teams allowed to skip Germany's quarantine for Euro 2020
One of the venues for Euro 2020 is in Munich. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

The three teams could potentially reach the quarter-final held in Munich on July 2nd.

If that were the case, they would be exempt from the rule that travellers from the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland must currently observe a 14-day isolation period due to the virus strain of concern – Delta – first identified in India.

“The people accredited for the European football Championship are exempt from the quarantine obligation, even after arriving from an area impacted by a variant” Berlin said in a statement.

“This exemption concerns all the people who have been accredited by the organising committee for the preparation, participation, the holding and the follow-up of international sporting events,” it added.

The exemption does not include fans, who will be obliged to follow German government self-isolation rules.

Germany declared the UK a ‘virus variant area of concern’ on May 23rd due to rising cases linked to the Delta variant in parts of the country. 

READ ALSO: Germany makes UK ‘virus variant area of concern’: How does it affect you?

This reclassification came just seven days after the UK was put back on Germany’s list at the lowest risk level, and barely a month after it was taken off all risk lists completely.

The ban was put in place despite the UK’s relatively low Covid rates as a precautionary measure.

A general ban on entry is in place for people coming from countries on the ‘virus variant’ list – such as India and Brazil – the highest of Germany’s risk categories. 

There are some exceptions for entering from these countries – for example German residents and citizens. However, anyone who does enter from Germany is required to submit a Covid-19 test before boarding the flight and must quarantine for 14 days on arrival, regardless of whether they are fully vaccinated or not.

READ ALSO: Germany’s new relaxed quarantine and testing rules after travel

Euro 2020 starts on Friday as Italy host Turkey in Rome with the Bavarian city hosting three group games as well as the last-eight match.

Around 14,000 fans will be allowed into the Allianz Arena for the fixtures.

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