The former head of German football Wolfgang Niersbach’s one-year ban from football activities has been upheld after his appeal was rejected by the FIFA Appeal Committee
Niersbach resigned as president of the German Football Association (DFB) in November 2015 after investigators searched the premises of the organisation;s headquarters in Frankfurt, as well as his home, and those of predecessor Theo Zwanziger and former general secretary Horst Schmidt amid allegations that the hosting rights for World Cup 2006 had been secured by corrupt means.
A member of the FIFA Council, Niersbach claimed his resignation was to “protect” the DFB and maintained his innocence.
However, a FIFA probe found him guilty of failing “to report findings about possible misconduct concerning the awarding of the 2006 FIFA World Cup” and he was banned in July this year.
It is alleged that the DFB sanctioned a €6.7million payment to former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus, payback for a loan that had been used to buy votes for Germany’s successful bid to host the tournament.
FIFA’s investigation was not centred on whether Niersbach himself was involved in the deal, “but only evaluated Mr Niersbach’s awareness of the said incidents and his failure to report them to the Ethics Committee in a timely manner”.
Niersbach said that the sanction was “inappropriate and exaggerated”, but an Appeal Committee statement read: “Being in agreement with the principles and arguments presented by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in its calculation of the sanction, the Appeal Committee determined that a one-year ban from taking part in any football-related activity (administrative, sports or other) at national and international level was adequate in this case.”
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