As allegations of corruption continue to swirl around multiple World Cup bids, German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach denies his organization acted improperly in bidding for the 2006 World Cup.
Niersbach's denial comes one day after German newspaper Die Zeit published a report alleging the German government sent rocket-propelled grenades to the government in Saudi Arabia one week before the vote for the 2006 World Cup.
“We have absolutely nothing to reproach ourselves for. Let me remind you that we did absolutely the best job,” Neirsbach told German television station ZDF TV, as translated by ESPN FC. “There was a 12 to 11 vote. We know that the eight Europeans voted for us, and we can only guess where the other four votes came from. We impressed them with our application.”
Germany narrowly edged South Africa in the 2006 bid process. The South Africans eventually hosted the 2010 tournament.
Die Zeit also reported that Volkswagen and Bayer, two multi-billion-dollar German-based companies, pledged to make substantial investments in Thailand and South Korea, the home countries of two FIFA executive committee members. German automotive giant Daimler AG, which owns Mercedez-Benz and other car brands, made a $111 million investment in South Korean car company Hyundai, the report says. At the time, one of the sons of Hyundai's founder was a member of the executive committee.
The U.S. Department of Justice alleges that South Africa's government paid $10 million in exchange for three votes for its 2010 World Cup bid. Swiss authorities have opened their own investigation into possible corruption surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids. The FBI is investigating the bid process for Brazil's 2014 World Cup. Former U.S. soccer executive Chuck Blazer pleaded guilty to taking a bribe for Morocco's bid in connection to the 1998 World Cup, which eventually went to France.
- Dan Gartland