DOHA: Former Asian confederation president Mohamed bin Hammam has confirmed that he did receive a controversial €6.7m payment from the German 2006 World Cup organisers writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Bin Hammam, who was banned from football for life after a multiplicity of scandals, broke a lengthy silence in response to questions from German broadcaster ZDF.
Murky issues surrounding the money have cast a shadow over the 2006 staging and damaged the reputations of a string of organising officials including Franz Beckenbauer, Wolfgang Niersbach, Theo Zwanziger and Horst R Schmidt.
Bin Hammam was also a controversial figure in the later bidding process which led up to the shock award by world federation FIFA of the 2022 finals to his home state of Qatar.
Swiss prosecutors and German tax authorities are investigating a trail linking a €6.7m payment which began with the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the late former Adidas executive and former part owner of Swiss marketing agency Infront, and apparently ended up, via FIFA, with Bin Hammam.
Bin Hammam told ZDF: “The €6.7m went into my account, yes, but I would like to know why Germany should have bribed me for something they have already received, the sum was only received after the World Cup award on my account.”
He admitted that being a FIFA insider had given himself and other senior officials a misguided sense of entitlement.
Bin Hammam said: “All the people have been to FIFA for so long and thought FIFA was theirs, they can do what they want, what’s good for them personally – including me.
“I do not mean to say that I was an exception: people who have the greatest power always think they can do what they want.”
Pressed on whether he knew why had received the money from Germany, Bin Hammam said: “I do not know, no, of course I know, but excuse me – it’s only you who cares, no one else.”
He also insisted he was not concerned about corruption allegations linked to Qatar’s 2022 World Cup award, saying: “They do not affect me all. These are just allegations and remain allegations.”
Bin Hammam was banned from football for life in 2011 in connection with vote-buying allegations around the FIFA presidential elections. The ban was overturned on appeal but he was then banned again over misuse of Asian confederation funds.
Germany was awarded the 2006 World Cup in 2000 and the muddied trail of the €6.7m began in 2002 with a loan to the German World Cup organisers from the late former Adidas owner Robert Louis-Dreyfus.
Three years later the same sum was sent to FIFA, declared as a contribution for a World Cup opening gala which never took place. Investigators believed initially that this had been a hidden repayment via FIFA to Louis-Dreyfus.
Instead the money ended up with Bin Hammam amid speculation that it had been connected to a vote-buying slush fund.
Beckenbauer has denied that any bribes were paid in connection with the 2006 World Cup and claimed that the LOC had needed to submit a financial guarantee to FIFA against an organising sbsidy.
This has been denied in turn by the then FIFA president Sepp Blatter.
Swiss prosecutors opened criminal proceedings on November 6, 2015 against Beckenbauer and former senior DFB officials Niersbach, Zwanziger and Schmidt.
In November 2015 German prosecutors opened an investigation into suspicions of tax evasion against senior DFB officials.
A report from law firm Freshfields, commissioned by the DFB, found no evidence of vote-buying from the German bid but noted also that many documents from that time had gone missing.
FIFA’s ethics committee launched its own investigation in March 2016.