German executive admits to FIFA payment, insists it was with “honest means”

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Following a bombshell report from German media that the country’s 2006 World Cup bid was bought, officials from the bid committee are furiously attempting to clear Germany’s name.

In an attempt to explain their actions, DFB chairman Wolfgang Niersbach has admitted the country made a payment to FIFA, but says “Everything was done with honest means for the 2006 World Cup bid. There were no slush funds, no vote-buying.”

Niersbach claimed a payment was made in 2008 as part of an agreement to secure a sizable loan to cover costs of hosting the World Cup, a loan Niersbach claims was near $257 million.

Niersbach would not touch on why the DFB wanted to get a loan from FIFA when it would have good enough standing to secure a loan from a bank or other credit organization. FIFA is investigating a $7.4 million payment made in 2005, which Niersbach claimed was for a gala that was eventually cancelled. According to the report, Sepp Blatter held a secret meeting with Franz Beckenbauer where money was at least discussed.

FIFA responded negatively to Niersbach’s claims, saying in a statement, “in general the FIFA finance committee is not authorized to receive payments in any way, nor does it have its own bank account.”

“That financial support of FIFA World Cup Organizing Committees should be coupled to any kind of financial advance payment by the respective organizing committee or the relevant football association in no way corresponds to FIFA’s standard processes and regulations.”

The report by Speigel alleges a slush fund was set up by former Adidas president Robert Louis-Dreyfus, at the request of Beckenbauer, to buy votes of four Asian executive committee members. Beckenbauer said he will testify to FIFA in the investigation, but will not speak publicly until then.