BELLONZONA: The 2006 World Cup cash fraud trial is in danger of collapsing.

The trial opened on Monday, was adjourned – initially temporarily – because of health claim issues but now may not be completed before the charges fall under a statute of limitations deadline of April 27.

Former German federation presidents Wolfgang Niersbach and Theo Zwanziger, ex-general secretary Horst R Schmidt and one-time FIFA general secretary Urs Linsi all deny charges relating to a controversial $10m loan from the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, then ceo of Adidas.

The sum was loaned to the German 2006 World Cup bidding committee but ultimately passed on out of organisational support funds by FIFA to Mohamed bin Hammam, then the president of the Asian confederation.

Zwanziger has been absent from court following recent eye surgery and Schmidt out of coronavirus travel concerns since Bellinzona in Ticino is not far from Italy’s locked-down Lombardy region. Linsi has attended court and so did Niersbach on Wednesday despite doctors’ advice.

However Niersbach was absent yesterday because Niersbach has self-isolated after a suspected case at the school of his 14-year-old stepson.

Presiding judge Sylvia Frei had no option but to adjourn the trial indefinitely.