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FIFA panel upholds one-year ban on former DFB head Niersbach

FIFA has rejected an appeal by former German Football Federation (DFB) President Wolfgang Niersbach. The governing body maintained a one-year ban and Niersbach has resigned from his FIFA and UEFA posts.

FIFA's appeals panel said it confirmed the ethics committee's ruling against Niersbach for failing to report potential misconduct surrounding the award of the 2006 World Cup to Germany.

Niersbach, 66, was banned from holding any position in German or international football for one year.

Ethics investigators concluded that he must have known about a payment of 6.7 million euros by the German organizing committee to a company owned by disgraced FIFA functionary Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar.

Disproportionate punishment

They said he failed to report it either to his DFB colleagues or FIFA's ethics committee.

Niersbach signaled his intention to appeal against the ban in July this year, saying he considered the punishment disproportionate.

But the appeals commission's decision means that his ban will remain in place until July 25, 2017.

Niersbach sat on the FIFA Council and is also a member of the executive committee of European soccer's governing body UEFA, though currently suspended.

Following FIFA's announcement on Friday, he said he was giving up his FIFA and UEFA posts, which are expected to be filled by current DFB president Reinhard Grindel.

Suspected tax evasion

Niersbach resigned as DFB president in November 2015 and is also under investigation by Frankfurt prosecutors for suspected tax evasion over the payment to Bin Hammam.

A DFB-commissioned report revealed in March that while there was no evidence of Germany paying FIFA members in return for their votes, payments were made to at least one former FIFA official through a web of accounts involving several other firms or individuals, including Franz Beckenbauer.

The World Cup-winning player and coach, who headed the 2006 World Cup bid, admitted making mistakes but denied any wrongdoing.

mf/idr (DPA, Reuters, SID)

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