German Football Federation (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach has slammed allegations of bribery during the bidding process for the 2006 World Cup finals.
A report in Der Spiegel on Friday claimed that a slush fund – provided by former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus – totalling close to $6million had been established by Germany’s World Cup bidding committee, intended to secure votes in their favour.
Niersbach, it was claimed, was aware of the fund at the time of the bidding process, along with former Germany defender Franz Beckenbauer, who led the bid committee.
The DFB described the allegations as “baseless” in a statement on Friday and threatened legal action against the publication, though FIFA is understood to be including the claims in their current anti-corruption investigation.
And Niersbach himself has now voiced his contempt for the claims, telling the official DFB website: “I can categorically deny it. I can assure you that there was no ‘black funds’ in the application process or at the assignment of the 2006 World Cup, neither at the DFB nor at the committee.
“I can assure this to all football fans. Der Spiegel did not show any evidence and are referring to an alleged quote from an anonymous source that Gunter Netzer made and which was denied already in that article. Again: the World Cup was not bought.”
It was alleged that Netzer, an ambassador for the World Cup, had told DFB officials that four Asian FIFA dignitaries had been paid from the slush fund in order to secure their vote for Germany to host the tournament.
Fedor Radmann, who was vice-president of the planning committee, added to Sky Sports News earlier on Saturday: “The committee never bribed anybody. I am ready to state this under oath. We did not buy votes.”