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DFB launches legal proceedings against Beckenbauer, FIFA

The German Football Federation has initiated proceedings against Franz Beckenbauer and the world's football governing body, according to media reports. The move is to protect it from damages of up to 25 million euros.

The German Football Federation (DFB) confirmed reports that appeared in the daily "Süddeutsche Zeitung," as well as public broadcasters NDR and WDR on Friday, that it will launch proceedings against the 2006 World Cup Organizing Committee, which includes Franz Beckenbauer and former DFB presidents Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach, Horst R. Schmidt and Fedor Radmann.

"The DFB has taken necessary measures to prevent the statue of limitation from running out" on possible legal action against former German soccer great Beckenbauer and FIFA. The proceedings were filed at a Hamburg court in late 2015, the three media outlets reported.

A dubious payment of 6.7 million euros ($7.3 million) from the organizing committee to FIFA in 2005 has been under scrutiny and will be at the center of any legal process against Germany's former leading football chiefs.

Germany beat South Africa to host the 2006 tournament with 12 votes to 11. Charlie Dempsey, president of the Oceania Football Confederation, abstained from voting, handing Germany the hosting rights.

The legal steps taken by the DFB include starting conciliatory proceedings against FIFA and the World Cup 2006 Organizing Committee. The DFB could face penalties of 25 million euros should its non-profit status be retroactively revoked.

In an interview with "Süddeutsche Zeitung" in November, Beckenbauer, head of the 2006 World Cup Organizing Committee, denied knowledge of a slush fund. But Rainer Koch, one of the two acting vice presidents of the DFB, revealed in a statement that Beckenbauer had signed a contractual agreement, promising a range of services to former FIFA VicePresident Jack Warner ahead of the 2006 hosting rights vote.

For several months, the Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer law firm has probed the multi-million-euro payment to FIFA and will make their report public on March 4, after presenting it to the DFB's board.

rd/sms (dpa, SID)

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