FRANKFURT: The German football federation is investigating what happened to a payment of €6.7m which it made to FIFA in the run-up to its staging of the World Cup finals in 2006 writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

The news magazine Spiegel has claimed that the money had been a repayment made, via FIFA, to the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, then boss of Adidias, who had funded a slush fund to buy votes.

A formal statement has been today by the DFB amid the ongoing crisis swirling around the world football federation under the presidency of Sepp Blatter who is currently suspended pending the outcome of an investigation by the FIFA ethics committee over allegations of mismanagement.

For many years the German World Cup hosting has been surrounded by concerns about some of the activities in the bidding process which generated a scandal of its own when one FIFA exco delegate, Oceania’s Charles Dempsey, flew home immediately before the vote.

His decision has been considered a crucial factor in Germany, not South Africa, winning host rights.

The new twist concerns monies paid to FIFA by the German organising for so-called ‘cultural purposes.’

Head of the German bid and organising committees was Franz Beckenbauer, former World Cup-winner as both player in 1974 and manager in 1990.

A DFB statement said:

“On the occasion of investigations in relation to the world governing body FIFA and because of recurrent speculation in the media, the DFB has reviewed, in recent months, circumstances concerning the award of the 2006 World Cup.

“As part of its audit of the DFB has found no evidence of irregularities. Nor has any evidence emerged to suggest that votes of delegates were purchased as part of the application process.

“In the chronological context of these audits the DFB has become aware that the local organising committee paid a sum of €6.7m to FIFA in April 2005, which may not have been used for the stated purpose (FIFA cultural programme).

“On the basis of this report, the DFB president [Wolfgang Niersbach] has this summer ordered an internal investigation to clarify the issue. The audit, undertaken in consultation with external legal counsel, has examined whether the DFB can make a recovery claim. A final result is not yet available due to the ongoing checks including examination by the control committee.”

The senior directors of the organising committee were Franz Beckenbauer (president), Horst R Schmidt, Theo Zwanziger and Niersbach.

Schmidt, Zwanziger and Niersbach were all executive vice-presidents.

Schmidt, then general secretary of the DFB, was responsible for key areas such as tournament organisation, venues and stadia, hotels and accommodation, transport and ticketing. He was also the first point of contact for FIFA.

Zwanziger, then joint head of the DFB, was responsible for finance, human resources and legal issues.

Niersbach, DFB president now, was communications director.

The eight-man supervisory board met formally twice a year under the chairmanship of DFB president Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder. Other board members included the former Interior Minister Otto Schily, current IOC president Thomas Bach and star player turned businessman Günter Netzer.