Wolfgang Niersbach has resigned from his position as president of the German Football Association (DFB).
On November 3, investigators searched the premises of the DFB headquarters in Frankfurt, as well as the homes of Niersbach, his predecessor Theo Zwanziger and former general secretary Horst Schmidt.
Prosecutors are looking into allegations that the organisation secured the hosting rights for World Cup 2006 by corrupt means.
The DFB stated its intention to cooperate fully with the investigators, and Niersbach has now left the role while denying any personal wrongdoing.
The outgoing president stated his decision was made in order to “protect” the DFB, and he vowed to continue contributing to the investigation where possible.
“I was there from the first day of the bid for the 2006 World Cup, all the way to the final documentation of that summer fairy tale, and have worked all these years and at all times not only with great passion but always cleanly, confidently and correctly,” Niersbach said in a statement.
“I can say with a clear conscience that I have absolutely nothing to be personally reproached for.
“It is more depressing and painful for me to be faced with procedures nine years later over a time when I was not involved. I make it clear once again, unequivocally, that I had no knowledge of the background of the cash flows.
“To protect the DFB and the office, I step down with a heavy heart as DFB president. Nevertheless, I will contribute anything for a comprehensive explanation of the processes.”
Franz Beckenbauer, who was head of Germany’s 2006 World Cup organising committee, is under investigation by the adjudicatory chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee but has rejected claims made by Der Spiegel that a slush fund was set up to influence Asian voters, describing a payment sent to FIFA while he was head of his country’s bid as “a mistake”.
Niersbach ordered a DFB investigation into Germany’s bidding process for the World Cup which returned “no indications of irregularities”.
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