Report ‘cannot rule out’ 2006 World Cup votes being bought

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A report has concluded that it cannot rule out the possibility that a payment of 6.7million from the German federation to world governing body FIFA in April 2005 was used to buy votes for the 2006 World Cup.

International law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, published a 380-page report detailing the movement of funds from account to account.

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According to the Freshfields report, former FIFA president Sepp Blatter had refused to give evidence, with his solicitor using his FIFA suspension as a motive to decline.

Former FIFA executive committee members were among a “group of people who we would have liked to have spoken to, but who were unavailable for comment,” said the report.

Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the former chief executive of sportswear manufacturer adidas, and Robert Schwan, whose accounts were involved in the flow of money, have since passed away, as has the former DFB president Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder.

“As a result of these restrictions, we cannot today provide a conclusive picture,” said the report.

Franz Beckenbauer, who led the DFB’s bid for the 2006 World Cup and was subsequently president of the organising committee, was also involved in the flow of money.

An account he shared with Robert Schwan was the source of four payments to a Swiss law firm, with the reference “Obtaining TV and marketing rights for Asia, 2006 games” given for the bank transfer.

According to the report, it was Schwan who initiated these payments between May 29 and July 8, 2002, and there was “no plausible reason” for such transfers to be made.

That money later found its way to Qatar, onto the account of scaffolding company Kemco, which was owned by Bin Hammam. After Beckenbauer made a trip to Qatar in 1999, and met with Bin Hammam as part of a DFB delegation, Bin Hammam said: “Yes, Beckenbauer asked for my backing and Qatar vote to host the tournament.

“The matter is under study… we are with the best bidder… Beckenbauer also proposed co-operation between Germany and Qatar in the sports field and exchange of expertise.”
Upon returning to Germany, Beckenbauer said at a DFB board meeting that the trip had been a success.

Beckenbauer has admitted that the 6.7million euro payment was a “mistake” but has strenuously denied that the money was used to buy votes.

”I, as the president of the organisation committee at the time, carry the responsibility for this mistake,” Beckenbauer told the German newspaper Bild in October.

”In order to obtain financial support from FIFA, a suggestion by FIFA’s finance commission was followed which, in hindsight, should have been rejected.

”No votes were bought in order to win the right to stage the 2006 World Cup.”

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