Bribe accusations anger Bayern
A rigged UEFA Cup semifinal. Germany's most successful soccer club colluding with the Russian mafia. Police searches of the home addresses of Bayern Munich executives, millions of euros in a secret club bank account, $1 million in cash at a player's house -- and a sizable amount of cocaine?
There was only one problem with the sensational story that
There was only one facet of the supposed scoop that could be independently verified. In the fall of 2008, Spanish authorities were listening in on telephone conversations of local Russian money launderers. One mobster was boasting to an associate that he had "bought" Bayern Munich's 4-0 semifinal loss to eventual UEFA Cup winner Zenit St. Petersburg on May 1 of that year for "50 million" in an unknown currency. Further investigations into the matter couldn't substantiate the suspicion, and both clubs rejected the allegation of foul play as completely baseless.
Earlier this year, Limacher, the well-respected anti-corruption official who operates out of UEFA's headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, told
Repeatedly pressed for hard evidence, neither Limacher nor Boksic could oblige.
Limacher denied making the statements attributed to him, but initially stood by his man. "Mr. Boksic is an absolutely reliable source," the 47-year-old Limacher told
For Bayern, though, a line had been crossed. The club filed a lawsuit for criminal defamation against Limacher and Boksic. "[Boksic] is a phony," Hoeness said. "I expect UEFA to draw the right conclusions immediately and [to get rid of him]."
In a statement released on the eve of Bayern's Champions League match against AS Roma last week, Europe's governing body feigned "surprise" at the "overreaction" of the German club. "We have total confidence in Peter Limacher, who is at the spearhead of a very difficult battle," general secretary
The next day, however, UEFA said "it understands the reasons for the reaction of [Bayern] in the light of the recent press coverage," and promised an internal investigation of the matter. One preliminary result was announced Wednesday: "The cooperation between UEFA and Mr. Boksic has ended," a UEFA spokesperson confirmed.
It'll be interesting to see whether Limacher can ride out the storm. Bayern is especially livid because it also holds him responsible for
In this week's edition,
"They both have debts with various criminal groups," Boksic told FIFA investigators, according to an official dossier that
Needless to say, Köln has decided to sue, too.