ZURICH: Suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter has denied ever demanding money from Franz Beckenbauer or the German football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Blatter was responding to suggestions raised by DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach in the controversy over a mystery payment made via the world football federation by the German 2006 World Cup organising committee.
Der Spiegel has suggested that the Germans had connived to repay through FIFA a loan from the then Adidas owner, Robert Louis-Dreyfus. The news magazine had also said the original loan cash had funded a slush fund to buy votes.
Niersbach, who had also been a senior executive of the German bid and organising committees, has denied the existence of a slush fund.
He has said that the Germans had to pay FIFA €6.7m to free up a multi-million grant towards World Cup staging costs. The payment had been agreed at a private meeting between Blatter and organising president Franz Beckenbauer.
Not according to Blatter.
The 79-year-old Swiss has been suspended from football by FIFA’s ethics committee pending an investigation into a ‘disloyal payment’ to Michel Platini, the French president of European governing body UEFA. However he believed he was free to speak to Schweiz am Sonntag about an unconnected issue.
Blatter said: “I have never demanded money from Beckenbauer. Never in my life. Nor even from the DFB. That is simply not true.”
This is not the first time that Niersbach has been accused of getting his facts wrong. A first condemnation of his version of events had come on Friday from Theo Zwanziger, his DFB presidential predecessor.
Zwanziger, joint president of the DFB at the time of the 2006 World Cup, had said he was sure a slush fund had existed and that Niersbach had not been telling the truth.
In fact a letter published by Spiegel from the German organisers to FIFA concerning the payment is co-signed by Zwanziger himself along with the then DFB general secretary Horst R Schmidt.
The issue over the payment bears striking similarities to the $10m payment which was made by FIFA on behalf of the South African World Cup organising committee four years later. The money was sent to then CONCACAF president Jack Warner for a so-called ‘African diaspora’ in ghe Caribbean.
United States investigators have said the money was a bribe to repay Warner and two associates for voting for South Africa’s World Cup bid.