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Germany's politicians call for thorough probe into 2006 World Cup corruption claims

Foreign Minister Steinmeier has demanded an immediate inquiry into new claims Germany won the 2006 soccer World Cup by buying votes. One politician has asked for an external probe - not trusting soccer to police itself.

Germany's top diplomat Frank-Walter Steinmeier joined a chorus of politicians on Saturday clamoring for a swift and thorough investigation into allegations the German Football Association (DFB) won the opportunity to host the 2006 soccer world cup through bribery.

"That is in the interest of sport and football. But it is also in our common interest that nothing remains from it," Steinmeier said while on a visit to Tehran.

Saturday's edition of "Der Spiegel" magazine covers claims that the German bidding committee had a slush fund for vote-buying, funded by Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus. The magazine claims that the money was used to sway four executives from the Asian branch of FIFA, soccer's international governing body.

Call for external probe

Late on Friday, FIFA said it would investigate the "very serious allegations."

An investigation is not enough, however, for Dagmar Freitag, who heads the sports commission in the German parliament. Freitag doesn't trust soccer to reform itself. She criticized the internal probe led by the DFB and called for outside experts to look into the claims.

"My personal opinion is that internal investigations by the DFB are not the measure of all things ... And I believe that the prosecution office could also be interested in these things," said Freitag.

The DFB said it "categorically rejects the baseless allegations," with the caveat that a payment of 6.7 million euros ($7.6 million) it received from FIFA "may not have been used for its intended purpose."

es/tj (dpa, SID)

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