The allegations that illicit payments were involved in Germany winning the right to host the 2006 World Cup continue to shake the DFB. Now there is a report that it could take its former president to court.
The report published in Tuesday’s edition of the Munich-based daily “Süddeutsche Zeitung” cited unnamed sources at the German FA (DFB), who said that legal action was being considered against former DFB President Theo Zwanziger for alleged breach of trust. There was no immediate confirmation of the report from the DFB.
According to the newspaper, the possible legal action would be related to the circumstances surrounding a 2005 payment of 6.7 million euros ($7.6 million) into a Geneva bank account of soccer’s world governing body, FIFA. At the time, Zwanziger was president of the DFB and vice president of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee, in charge of financial affairs. There was also no immediate reaction from Zwanziger to the report.
The DFB said in a statement issued last Friday that the payment was for a FIFA culture program, but “may not have been used for its intended purpose.” The culture program in question is reported to have been an opening gala originally scheduled for the eve of the 2006 World Cup, but which wound up being cancelled.
‘Slush fund’ allegations
According to a report published by “Der Spiegel” newsmagazine, the payment was actually deposited in the Geneva account to later be forwarded to the late former Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus. The “Spiegel” report alleges that the payment was to reimburse Dreyfus for money he used to fill slush funds, which the organizing committee in turn used to buy the support of members of FIFA’s executive committee in the vote on who should host the 2006 World Cup.
On Monday, current DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach reiterated his rejection of the allegations that the organizing committee had used illegal payments to win the right to host the tournament.
“There were no slush funds, no votes were bought,” Niersbach, who was a vice president of the organizing committee, told reporters at the official opening of the DFB’s new football museum in Dortmund.
“We will refute the ‘Spiegel’ claims and take legal action against them,” he added.
Franz Beckenbauer, who was president of the organizing committee, has also rejected the allegations as groundless, arguing that the newsmagazine had provided no evidence to back up its claims.