Beckenbauer admits 'mistake,' says no vote buying

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October 27, 2015

Beckenbauer admits 'mistake,' says no vote buying

FRANKFURT, AP:

Franz Beckenbauer said yesterday it was his mistake to make a payment to FIFA in return for a financial grant to Germany's 2006 World Cup organising committee.

In a brief statement published by German media late yesterday, Beckenbauer gave little details about the case that has shaken German football.

Beckenbauer, president of the 2006 World Cup organising committee, reiterated his denial from last week that there was vote buying before Germany won the bid to stage the World Cup.

"In order to obtain a financial grant from FIFA, a proposal was accepted from FIFA's financial commission that in hindsight should have been rejected by those involved," Beckenbauer said.

"For this mistake, I bear responsibility as the president of the then organising committee," he said.

Beckenbauer made no mention of the FIFA's now suspended president Sepp Blatter. German football federation president Wolfgang Niersbach said last week that the financial deal was made by Beckenbauer and Blatter in a private meeting in January 2002.

Blatter had denied any knowledge of the case and FIFA also has disputed Niersbach's account.

Niersbach said the organising committee had obtained a grant of 250 million Swiss francs (about 230 million euros at current rates) from FIFA, in return to payment of what now amounts to EU6.7 million ($7.38 million).

The money was loaned by the now late French businessman Robert Louis-Dreyfus and was repaid by the German federation in 2005.

The entire transaction and its dubious circumstances have come under close scrutiny and heavy criticism in Germany and led to the calls for the resignation of Niersbach, although he has received support from the federation board.

Beckenbauer said he was questioned by a law firm hired by DFB to investigate the affair and repeated that there was no vote buying ahead of the 2000 vote on the host of the 2006 World Cup.

Spiegel said the 6.7 million euros had been in a slush fund used to secure the votes of four Asian members of FIFA's executive committee.

"There were no votes bought to win the bid for the 2006 World Cup," Beckenbauer said.

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