We never bribed anyone, says Germany's 2006 World Cup committee member

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 17, 2015 10:11 AM

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's 2006 World Cup bid team did not bribe officials from the world soccer's governing body FIFA to win the vote for the tournament, Fedor Radmann, the former vice president of the German organizing committee, said on Saturday, rejecting claims made by a German magazine.

Radmann, who left the post three years before the World Cup, was responding to a report in Der Spiegel magazine on Friday alleging a slush fund had been set up to help land the tournament for Germany back in 2000.

Der Spiegel reported that the head of the committee, Franz Beckenbauer, and its then vice president Wolfgang Niersbach, had allegedly been aware of this slush fund, citing internal documents from the German Football Association (DFB).

"The bid committee never bribed anyone," Radmann told Sky Sports News in Germany. "I am prepared to say that under oath. We bought no vote."

Beckenbauer has not responded to repeated requests for comment from Reuters. His agent could not be reached on Saturday.

The DFB, which is headed by Niersbach, on Friday also vehemently rejected the Spiegel's report, saying its own investigation had found no wrongdoing in the process of being awarded the 2006 World Cup in a FIFA vote.

However, the DFB said it was investigating a payment of 6.7 million euros ($7.6 million) from the 2006 organizing committee to FIFA for a cultural program during the 2006 World Cup and whether it was used as intended.

Der Spiegel claimed this payment was a return of a loan paid to the bid committee by the late Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus to help it set up the alleged slush fund.

FIFA was plunged into the biggest crisis of its 111-year history in May, when 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives were indicted in the United States on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involving more than $150 million in payments.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)