FRANKFURT: Franz Beckenbauer has admitted that the 2006 German World Cup organisers had been wrong to accede to a FIFA request to pay it €6.7m to secure a €170m grant towards the staging costs writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Beckenbauer was president of both the original bid committee and then of the local organising committee which has become the subject of controversy over the manner and purpose of the payment.

In a statement issued through his management, Beckenbauer said:

Last Thursday I agreed to answer questions from the external investigation commissioned by the German DFB. Today the hearing rtook place in Munich when I have answered all the questions from the commission.

It is important for me to clarify the following:

1, No votes were purchased to win the bid to host the FIFA 2006 World Cup.

2, To obtain a financial grant from FIFA a proposal was accepted with the FIFA finance committee which, with the benefit of hindsight, should have been rejected. For this mistake I, as president of the then organising committee, take full responsibility.

Beckenbauer said he would not deign to comment on remarks from other senior figures in German football. This was a clear criticism of former DFB president Theo Zwanziger who had declared that the bid committee had run a slush fund – as suggested 10 days ago by the news magazine Der Spiegel.

The DFB and its current president Wolfgang Niersbach, have denied the existence of a slush fund.

However no plausible explanation has yet been offered as to why the organising committee arranged to pay the mystery €6.7m, via FIFA, to the late former Adidas owner and ceo Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

Der Spiegel had alleged that Louis-Dreyfus, acting as a private loan, made the loan to finance a slush fund.