No proof of 2006 World Cup vote buying, Beckenbauer under pressure

Fri Mar 4, 2016 2:22pm EST
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - There is no evidence of vote-rigging in the awarding of the 2006 soccer World Cup to Germany, says a report into the scandal which piled more pressure on former World Cup chief Franz Beckenbauer over a payment to a disgraced ex-FIFA official.

"We have no proof of vote buying," Christian Duve of the Freshfields law firm, commissioned by the German Football Association (DFB), told a news conference on Friday.

"Although we cannot rule it out completely."

He said his firm had not been able to talk to everyone involved, including Sepp Blatter, the former president of world soccer's governing body FIFA who has been suspended from football over a separate, wide-reaching corruption scandal.

Beckenbauer, Germany's former World Cup-winning player and manager, was already under pressure to deliver answers over a 6.7 million euro ($7.34 million) payment to FIFA in 2005.

The report shows he transferred 10 million Swiss francs ($10.06 million) in 2002 via a Swiss law firm's account to a company owned by then-FIFA official Mohamed Bin Hammam, the former president of the Asian Football Confederation who was banned from all soccer-related activity in December 2012.

The World Cup affair, which has shocked soccer-mad Germany, was triggered by the payment from the German FA (DFB) to FIFA in 2005 which the DFB said last year was the return of a loan via FIFA from former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

Der Spiegel magazine alleged it was used to buy votes.

Duve said the payment from the DFB had been transferred to FIFA in 2005 but was not intended for the opening ceremony gala as was indicated in documents.   Continued...

German Football Association (DFB) designated president Reinhard Grindel, interim presidents Reinhard Rauball and Rainer Koch and media director Ralf Koettker (L-2nd R) listen as Freshfields lawyer Christian Duve addresses a news conference in Frankfurt, Germany March 4, 2016, to present an independent report commissioned by the DFB into the 2006 World Cup and the scandal involving a payment to world soccer's governing body FIFA, allegedly to ensure the World Cup was awarded to Germany. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach