FRANKFURT: Franz Beckenbauer has effectively deflected responsibility on to the late Robert Schwan, his long-time adviser, for a mystery payment which has surfaced in the German World Cup controversy writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Germany’s football legend has come under heavy pressure for his equivocal comments after a cash scandal which has cast a long shadow over the bid and then organising committees for the country’s hosting of the 2006 finals.

Beckenbauer was president of both bodies but controversy over various payments has led to the departure from the DFB in recent months of two senior officials plus president Wolfgang Niersbach who, nevertheless, remains a member of te executive committees of world and European governing bodies FIFA and UEFA.

An independent inquiry commissioned by the DFB from law firm Freshfields reached no conclusion either way about misconduct in the bidding process but pointed a finger of concern at various payments.

One of those was made in 2002 from a account held jointly by Beckenbauer and Schwan which saw SFr10m sent to Kemco, the Qatari construction company then owned by Mohamed Bin Hammam, the former president of the Asian Football Confederation who was banned from football in December 2012.

Beckenbauer, reported by Bild, denied any attempt to buy votes to obtain World Cup host rights. He also denied any knowledge of the payment to Bin Hammam, saying he knew “nothing” of the issue.

He added: “Robert took care of everything. From changing the light bulbs to the important contracts. I only found out on Wednesday about money that had gone to Qatar.

“In hindsight I may have made mistakes. But afterwards you are always smarter. But the World Cup was not bought.”