FRANKFURT: Three former senior officials of German and world football have been charged with “aggravated tax evasion” over the 2006 World Cup scandal writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach are former presidents of the DFB and past members of the executive committees of both world federation FIFA and European governing body UEFA; Horst R Schmidt was formerly general secretary of the DFB and a senior World Cup consultant to FIFA.

Prosecutors in Frankfurt have alleged that the three men filed a false tax statement for 2006 in relation to a secret fund of 10 million Swiss francs (then €6.7m).

The investigation followed revelations three yeas ago about the fund’s existence by the news magazine Der Spiegel which suggested it could have been used as bribes for votes in the selection by FIFA of Germany as World Cup host rather than South Africa.

All three men have insisted on their innocence of all charges.

The secret account was reportedly created in 2000 with the knowledge of bud committee president Franz Beckenbauer and funded by a loan from the then head of Adidas, the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus. The money was officially provided to support a World Cup Opening Gala which never took place.

Last October the tax office in Frankfurt ruled that the €6.7m had been registered improperly and imposed a fine of €19.2m.