FIFA to investigate 2006 World Cup bidding process

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FIFA’s Ethics Committee has announced that it has “opened formal proceedings” into the bidding process for the 2006 World Cup.

The tournament was held in Germany but world soccer’s governing body is investigating six individuals, including legendary German player and manager Franz Beckenbauer, about the bidding process.

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All six individuals under investigation are no longer working for the German FA (DFB) and include former DFB vice-president Beckenbauer, former president’s Wolfgang Niersbac and Theo Zwanziger, former secretary general’s Helmut Sandrock and Horst R. Schmidt, plus former financial officer Stefan Hans.

In a statement on FIFA’s website posted on Tuesday, they had the following to say:

“After examining the Freshfields report commissioned by the German Football Association (DFB), the investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has decided to open formal proceedings against the following individuals in the context of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ host selection and its associated funding.”

Beckenbauer has already been fined and warned by a FIFA ethics judge after refusing to cooperate in Michael Garcia’s investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding process.

FIFA also released the specific details as to why it is investigating the six individuals:

The chairman of the investigatory chamber, Dr Cornel Borbély, will lead the investigation proceedings as the chief of the investigation. He will examine all relevant evidence and hand over the case reports at the appropriate time, along with recommendations, to the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee.

Under the FIFA Code of Ethics, pursuant to the presumption of innocence, the investigatory chamber shall examine all circumstances of the cases equally. In this sense, all parties are presumed innocent until a decision has been passed by the adjudicatory chamber.

In the cases of Messrs Niersbach and Sandrock, the investigatory chamber will investigate a possible failure to report a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics, which could constitute a breach of art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art. 15 (Loyalty), art. 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperating and reporting) and art. 19 (Conflicts of interest) of the FCE.

In the cases of Mr Beckenbauer, Dr Zwanziger, Mr Schmidt and Mr Hans, the investigatory chamber will investigate possible undue payments and contracts to gain an advantage in the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ host selection and the associated funding, which could constitute a breach of arts 13, 15, 18 and 19 as well as art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) and art. 21 (Bribery and corruption) of the FIFA Code of Ethics.

The list of possible violations may be supplemented as additional information becomes available.