Almost a week after a newsmagazine claimed that German football officials used illicit payments to land the 2006 World Cup, the DFB's president has again denied the allegations. But many questions remain unanswered.
German FA (DFB) President Wolfgang Niersbach told reporters at a hastily-called press conference in Frankfurt on Thursday that the committee behind the successful bid for the right to host the 2006 World Cup had done so through completely fair and legal means.
"The awarding of the 2006 World Cup was completely above board," Niersbach said. "There were no slush funds, there was no vote-buying."
However, Niersbach was unable to shed much light on a payment which was first reported by the weekly newsmagazine "Spiegel" late last week.
"Spiegel" reported that 10.3 million Swiss Francs (6.7 million euros, $7.6 million) were paid into a slush fund by then-Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus, which was to be used to buy the votes of four Asian members of FIFA's Executive Committee when it voted on the matter in mid-2000.
Ten million unlock 250 million
However, Niersbach on Friday said Dreyfus had paid the funds directly to FIFA's financial committee to unlock "organizational support in grants to the amount of 250 million Swiss francs." He said Dreyfus was subsequently reimbursed by the DFB via FIFA.
He also said the payment was part of an agreement reached between FIFA President Sepp Blatter and the head of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee, Franz Beckenbauer, in January 2002. Niersbach said Beckenbauer had expressed a willingness to pay the 10 million Swiss francs out of his own pocket, but was advised against this by his personal advisor at the time. After this, Louis-Dreyfus agreed to make the payment.
Niersbach told the press conference that he had not known about the deal at the time, and had only learned of it during a meeting with Beckenbauer at his Austrian residence on Tuesday.
Responding to reporters' questions, Niersbach conceded that he did not know why FIFA had required the payment in the first place and that many other questions remained unanswered.
At the July 2000 vote on which county would host the 2006 World Cup, Germany beat South Africa by 12 votes to 11 when Executive Committee member Charles Dempsey of New Zealand abstained.
pfd/msh (AP, dpa, AFP)