German officials Beckenbauer, Niersbach deny 2006 World Cup bribery allegations

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Franz Beckenbauer, one of two key figures named in the alleged bribery scandal surrounding the 2006 World Cup in Germany, has denied that any money changed hands in exchange for votes.

German publication Der Spiegel claimed it had the documentation to prove Germany created a slush fund to buy votes, with money largely supplied by the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, at the time the CEO of German shoe and clothing giant Adidas.

“I never had money given to anyone to acquire votes for the awarding of the 2006 football World Cup to Germany,” Beckenbauer said in a statement. “And I am certain that no other member of the bidding committee did it either.”

Beckenbauer was, at the time of the vote in 2000, the head of the bid committee for Germany, who beat South Africa in the final vote 12-11.

“I can assure that in relation to the bidding and awarding of the 2006 World Cup there were no ’slush funds’ at the DFB, the bidding committee or the later organizing committee,” said DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach on Saturday. He was on the bid committee at the time of the vote.

According to the Der Spiegel report, the committee is said to have set up the slush fund to buy the votes of four Asian officials. One Oceanic official abstained from voting at the 11th hour, but he was not named in the report.

“The bid committee never bribed anyone,” said bid committee member Fedor Radmann to Sky Sports News in Germany. “I am prepared to say that under oath. We bought no vote.”