FRANKFURT: German’s football federation has started legal proceedings against Franz Beckenbauer and world governing body FIFA in a ‘protective’ action for fear of claims of up to €25m.

Proceedings are planned against the 2006 World Cup organizing committee which included Beckenbauer and former DFB presidents Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach as well as ex-DFB general secretary Horst R Schmidt and consultant Fedor Radmann.

The action had been registered in a Hamburg court late last year.

A dubious payment of €6.7m from the organizing committee to FIFA in 2005 has been under scrutiny and will be at the centre of any legal process against Germany’s former leading football chiefs.

Germany beat South Africa to host the 2006 tournament with 12 votes to 11. Charlie Dempsey, president of the Oceania Football Confederation, abstained from voting, handing Germany the hosting rights.

The legal steps taken by the DFB include starting conciliatory proceedings against FIFA and the World Cup 2006 Organizing Committee. The DFB could face penalties of 25 million euros should its non-profit status be retroactively revoked.

Beckenbauer, head of the 2006 World Cup bid and organizing committees has always denied knowledge of a slush fund despite the emergence of a contractual agreement, promising a range of services to former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner ahead of the award of 2006 hosting rights vote.

For several months, the Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer law firm has probed the multi-million-euro payment to FIFA and will make its report public on March 4, after presenting it to the DFB’s board.