The German Football Federation (DFB) has slammed allegations of bribery during the bidding process for the 2006 World Cup as “baseless”.
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.
Iconic former defender Franz Beckenbauer – who led the bid committee – and current DFB chief Wolfgang Niersbach were aware of the fund, the report also alleges.
The DFB confirmed earlier on Friday that they had launched an internal investigation into the matter, which found “no sign whatsoever” that votes had been bought and made it clear that the payment was not related to the World Cup bid.
They have since released a statement insisting that Der Spiegel’s report has no basis in fact and have threatened legal action against the publication.
“The German Football Association (DFB) is taking action with the utmost determination towards the completely baseless allegations of the news magazine ‘Der Spiegel’, which says there had been ‘black cash’ at the DFB in connection to the bid for the 2006 FIFA World Cup,” the release read.
“Equally significantly, the association denies the factually incorrect conclusions from the authors that it had bought votes for the awarding of the World Cup. The DFB states explicitly again that neither the DFB president nor other members of the organising committee were involved in such operations or had knowledge about them.
“The DFB reserves legal action against the magazine ‘Der Spiegel’.”
FIFA is understood to be including the matter within their own internal investigation into allegations of corruption, which began with the arrest of officials in Zurich in May this year.
Former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer told authorities in the United States earlier this year that he was involved in facilitating bribes in the bidding processes for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, while both Russia and Qatar – the host nations of the next two tournaments – have been forced to deny any wrongdoing after allegations of foul play.
President Sepp Blatter, secretary general Jerome Valcke and UEFA chief Michel Platini are currently serving provisional 90-day suspensions implement as a result of FIFA’s investigations.