Germans seek Europe’s trust for 2024 bid amid World Cup probe

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

ATHENS, Greece (AP) Germany is pressing ahead with its bid to host the 2024 European Championship, insisting Wednesday that its soccer leadership should be trusted because it is not linked to mounting allegations of wrongdoing against the 2006 World Cup campaign.

Swiss federal prosecutors have opened criminal proceedings against Franz Beckenbauer and the three other German members of the 2006 organizing committee. The four are suspected of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation relating to a payment of 6.7 million euros ($7.3 million) to FIFA in 2005.

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The Swiss authorities and FIFA have been investigating the German bid since last year, with no end in sight for the case. But the German federation (DFB) has not been deterred from continuing its pursuit of soccer’s second biggest national team competition after the World Cup.

Germany withdrew from bidding for matches at the continent-wide Euro 2020 to focus on bringing the 2024 edition to the country in its entirety.

German federation president  said Wednesday that the 2006 bid investigation is “no problem because we said that we would make our bid transparent” with unspecified good governance processes.

“We have new leadership in the DFB and so all FAs trust us,” Grindel, who was elected DFB treasurer in 2013, told The Associated Press. “These people who are at the center of the investigation have no influence now in the DFB and so we are not responsible for what happened in 2006.”

The 2006 tournament became known as Germany’s “Summer Fairytale” and the country is seeking a replay.

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“It’s our ambition to host Euro 2024 because we are well prepared,” Grindel said in an interview on the sidelines of the UEFA Congress in Athens. “We have the stadiums, we have the infrastructure.

“We showed with the organization of the (UEFA) under-19 tournament (in July) that we can do it, that we have great experience and so I think our bid will be a good bid.”

The Nordic group of soccer federations from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden said in April they wanted to host the European Championship either in 2024 or 2028. That bid would seek to stage events in Iceland and the Faroe Islands, too.

There is no timeframe for the bidding process or a date for the vote.

Rob Harris is at and