German FA president quits amid 2006 World Cup bribery scandal

Monday November 9th, 2015

German football federation president Wolfgang Niersbach resigned on Monday following allegations that Germany bribed voters during the 2006 World Cup bid process.

In October, Der Spiegel reported that Germany’s winning bid for the 2006 World Cup was assisted by bribes paid to FIFA executive committee members. The German bidding committee reportedly set up a slush fund of $7.22 million that was used to secure the votes of four Asian representatives on FIFA’s 24-member executive committee, which voted to give Germany hosting rights for the 2006 tournament.

"I have realized myself that that the time has come to take political responsibility for the events around the 2006 World Cup ... (although) I can say that I worked there absolutely cleanly and conscientiously," Niersbach said on Monday, according to the Associated Press. 

Germany has repeatedly denied wrongdoing. 

Last week, authorities raided DFB's headquarters to investigate possible tax evasion by the organization on the payment. Niersbach's home was also searched by police. 

Der Spiegel previously reported that German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer, who headed the bidding committee, and Niersbach both knew about the slush fund. But in October, Niersbach said he did not know the nature of the $7.22 million payment. 

Despite the allegations, Beckenbauer denies that he ever paid anyone for votes. Niersbach has continued to refute the claim as well.

“There were no slush funds,” Niersbach said in October. “There was no vote-buying. But the question must be asked why was this transfer made.”

Niersbach, 64, was named president of the German football federation in March 2012. He has worked for the federation for 25 years. 

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