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Beckenbauer sharply criticizes DFB leadership

Franz Beckenbauer has sharply criticized the interim leadership of the German FA over their handling of the controversy surrounding the 2006 World Cup. The football legend has found himself at the heart of the scandal.

Speaking to the Munich-based broadsheet "Süddeutsche Zeitung," Beckenbauer said he had offered to meet personally with the German FA's (DFB) interim co-presidents to answer any questions they might have about a dubious document, which became public 10 days ago.

However, Beckenbauer said neither Rainer Koch nor Reinhard Rauball had replied to his letter, despite the fact that both had publicly called on him to do more to clear up the allegations.

Beckenbauer said he had sent the letter shortly after the

resignation of former DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach,

who stepped down on November 10 after learning of a contractual agreement that had been signed by himself and

Jack Warner, the former head of CONCACAF,

football's governing body in North and Central America as well as the Caribbean.

Beckenbauer, who was the head of the committee that successfully bid for the 2006 World Cup

and later headed the organizing committee, said that in the letter, he had offered to travel to Frankfurt, where the DFB has its headquarters, or any other location at short notice to meet with Koch and Rauball. Not only did the pair fail to respond to his letter, Beckenbauer said, but he also learned via television last Friday that Koch was demanding that he meet for a second time with investigators from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the external firm that the DFB has engaged to look into the allegations of wrongdoing.

"When you've know each other for so long, you get no reaction then learn everything through the television," Beckenbauer said. "Where are we then? What kind of style is that?"

Dubious contractual agreement

The dubious document in question was apparently uncovered by Freshfields in its investigation into a 6.7 million-euro ($7.2 million) payment made to FIFA in 2005 that the DFB has been unable to account for. (That payment, incidentally, has sparked a tax-evasion investigation, which led to

police raiding the offices of the DFB and Niersbach's personal residence

last month.)

The contractual agreement, dated four days before the 2000 vote, in which FIFA's Executive Committee awarded Germany the right to host the 2006 World Cup, was reportedly signed by Beckenbauer and Warner - who has denied any knowledge of the document.

Koch released more information about the contract a day after Niersbach stepped down.

"In this contract, various services, not direct monetary payments, are promised by the German side," Koch said, before adding that there was no indication whether the agreement had been acted upon.

He also noted that it was not clear whether it had influenced how Warner had acted in the 2000 FIFA Executive Committee vote on the 2006 World Cup, in which Germany beat South Africa 12-11. Koch then called on Beckenbauer to do more to clear up the allegations.

The "Süddeutsche" report, posted on its website on Friday, promised that Beckenbauer had more to say about the contract, but that this would only be released in the full interview, to be published in its weekend edition.

DFB presidium meets

Beckenbauer's latest statement comes on a day when the DFB presidium is gathering in Frankfurt to try to reach a consensus between the regional and state amateur football associations and the professional clubs on a candidate to become the German FA's next president. The state and regional amateur associations, which will wield a two-thirds majority in the election for a new president, agreed at a separate meeting on Tuesday, to

support current DFB President Reinhard Grindel for the job.

This would appear to make the outcome at Friday's presidium talks a foregone conclusion, but Bundesliga club officials have been annoyed by the amateur associations' move.

"I've spoken with many of the head of league clubs this week and have seldom experienced such unity," Borussia Dortmund's CEO, Hans-Joachim Watzke told the "Kicker" football magazine. "This is a very unsavory saga for football as a whole."

Friday's presidium meeting is also to be used to set a date for the election of a new DFB president.

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