Football legend Franz Beckenbauer has said he never paid to secure votes for Germany's successful 2006 World Cup bid. Media reports have alleged that a slush fund was set up to bag the right to host the tournament.
Beckenbauer, who led the successful German bid to host the 2006 World Cup, on Sunday denied the cash-for-votes allegations.
The 70-year-old, who was also head of the organizing committee, was accused of knowing about a slush fund that was used to make the bribes.
"I have not sent anyone money to acquire votes for the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany," said Beckenbauer in a statement. "And I'm sure that no other member of the bidding committee did either."
Newsmagazine "Der Spiegel" alleged on Friday that the German Football Association (DFB) had bought the votes of delegates deciding on where the 2006 World Cup should be hosted.
"Der Spiegel" claimed the DFB borrowed 10.3 million Swiss francs in 2000 from Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the now-deceased former CEO of German sportswear giant Adidas. The amount was said to have been necessary to buy the votes of four Asian members in FIFA's executive committee.
'There was no slush fund'
The DFB has strenuously denied the allegations, admitting that it made a payment but claiming it was not linked to the World Cup.
"There was no slush fund," insisted DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach. "The World Cup was not bought."
German politicians have demanded an investigation into the allegations, which are only the latest to hit football's governing body FIFA.
Swiss investigators are also looking into alleged corruption behind the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia, and the 2022 tournament to Qatar.
The possible bribery scandal has resulted in the arrest of 14 people by Swiss and US authorities. FIFA has suspended President Sepp Blatter for 90 days due to suspicions that a 2 million Swiss franc payment to UEFA counterpart Michel Platini was compromised.
rc/cmk (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)