FRANKFURT: The German football federation is formally leaderless as it faces one of the most awkward weeks in its history writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

General secretary Helmut Sandrock has become the latest senior figure at the DFB to fall victim to the scandal over the €6m World Cup payment sent to FIFA before Germany hosted the 2006 World Cup finals.

Last year Sandrock was the man who cast Germany’s vote in the FIFA presidential election. This time, last Friday, he was described as being “ill at home” in Hesse as the DFB was about to confirm his departure with immediate effect from the role of general secretary.

The DFB vote – for Gianni Infantino – was cast instead by Reinhard Grindel, treasurer and president-elect of the DFB.

Sandrock’s exit had appeared only a matter of time after Wolfgang Niersbach quit as DFB president last November over an apparent cover-up concerning the payment. Deputy general secretary Stefan Hans had already been fired and is suing the DFB for €4m for wrongful dismissal.

All three men are victims of the controversy over the payment of €6.7m from the World Cup organising committee to FIFA in 2005. The emergence of the payment was connected originally with a loan of a similar sum made by the late businessman Robert Louis-Dreyfus during the earlier bidding campaign.

An independent report into the mystery will be delivered on Friday by lawyers Freshfields.

This is expected to prove severaly embarrassing for the DFB and to throw light on the roles played originally by bid officials who had included Niersbach, the then DFB general secretary Horst R Schmidt and the bid and organising leader Franz Beckenbauer.

The CDU politician Grindelwald is expected to be confirmed as new president of the DFB on April 15 after an extraordinary meeting of the general council. One of his most urgent tasks will be to find a new general secretary.