The investigatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee has recommended a two-year ban from all football-related activity for former DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach.
The case, which will now be passed to the adjudicatory chamber, relates to claims Niersbach sanctioned a €6.7million payment to former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus that Der Spiegel magazine alleged was a return on a loan intended to buy votes for Germany’s, ultimately successful, bid to host the 2006 World Cup.
Niersbach has denied any wrongdoing and insisted the transaction was part of a financing agreement with FIFA intended to secure a grant.
Having studied the evidence, however, the investigatory chamber decided Niersbach had a case to answer.
A FIFA statement read: “The adjudicatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee, under its deputy chairman Mr Alan Sullivan, has opened formal adjudicatory proceedings against Mr Wolfgang Niersbach, former president of the German Football Association (DFB), vice-president of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Local Organising Committee (LOC) and current member of the FIFA Council and the UEFA executive committee, based on the final report submitted by the investigatory chamber.
“The investigations concerning Mr Niersbach conducted by Dr Cornel Borbely, chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, were opened on 22 March 2016 and the final report was passed to the adjudicatory chamber on 22 April 2016.
“In its final report, the investigatory chamber recommends a sanction of a two-year ban from all football-related activity and a fine of CHF 30,000 for violations of arts 13, 15, 18, and 19 of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
“Under Mr Sullivan, the adjudicatory chamber has studied the report of the investigatory chamber carefully and decided to institute formal adjudicatory proceedings against Mr Niersbach.
“In the course of the proceedings, Mr Niersbach will be invited to submit his position including any evidence with regard to the final report of the investigatory chamber (art. 70 par. 2 of the FIFA Code of Ethics) and may request a hearing (art. 74 par. 2 of the FIFA Code of Ethics).”
Niersbach stood down from his role with the DFB in November 2015.
UEFA swiftly released a statement which read: “UEFA has taken note of the opening of proceedings by the FIFA Ethics Committee against Mr. Niersbach and will closely follow developments in this respect.
“There are no further comments to be made at this stage of the proceedings.”
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