Pressure grows on Beckenbauer to speak out on corruption
FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) Franz Beckenbauer signed a contract promising a now disgraced FIFA official ''various services'' shortly before Germany won the vote to stage the 2006 World Cup, the acting president of the German football federation said Tuesday.
Rainer Koch said Beckenbauer's contract with Jack Warner did not include ''direct cash benefits'' but ''various services such as friendlies, support for CONCACAF coaches and tickets for World Cup games.'' There are no indications that the contract was ever implemented, Koch said in a statement.
He said Beckenbauer had no power to make such deals on his own and that they would have needed the approval of the federation's board, which was also noted in the contract.
Koch said the contract was drafted four days before FIFA's vote in 2000 on the host of the 2006 World Cup, which Germany won by one vote over South Africa.
The latest revelation increased pressure on Beckenbauer to speak out on the corruption allegations surrounding the 2006 World Cup.
The former Bayern Munich great, who captained and coached Germany to separate World Cup titles, was the 2006 bid's leading figure and later the president of the organizing committee.
The disclosure came one day after German soccer federation president Wolfgang Niersbach's resignation.
''We appeal to him (Beckenbauer) to bring himself more closely into the explanation of what happened,'' Koch said earlier. Koch is one of the two caretaker presidents after Niersbach's resignation.
The second, Reinhard Rauball, said Beckenbauer's signature could be seen as a bribery attempt, regardless of whether the contract was implemented or not.
''It has to be seen as such, or that at least such things were considered,'' Rauball told Sky Germany television.
Earlier, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung and Bild first linked Beckenbauer to Warner, who was a member of FIFA's executive committee that voted on the host of the 2006 tournament. The two dailies said the draft contract was also initialed by Beckenbauer's his right-hand man, Fedor Radmann, who had previously denied any attempt to buy votes.
Warner, who stepped down four years ago, has been suspended for life by the FIFA ethics committee and faces corruption charges in the United States, which is seeking his extradition from Trinidad and Tobago.
Warner was then the president of the CONCACAF governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean.
In suspending Warner in September, FIFA said he ''committed many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly during his time as an official in different high-ranking and influential positions at FIFA and CONCACAF.''
FIFA said Warner was involved in the ''offer, acceptance, and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments.''
Warner has denied all wrongdoing. He is also at the center of a U.S. indictment regarding a $10 million payment from South African soccer officials to CONCACAF, which U.S. prosecutors allege was linked to Warner's support for South Africa's bid to host the 2010 World Cup.
The German weekly Der Spiegel reported more than three weeks ago that a slush fund was used by German soccer officials to buy four Asian votes ahead of the vote in 2000.
Niersbach had denied any vote buying but said in his resignation comments that ''things have surfaced'' in recent days that led him to take ''political responsibility'' and step down, while denying any personal guilt.
Speaking after Niersbach's resignation, Koch said a law firm hired by the German federation to look into the affair had singled out a number of points that need further clarification.
''We'll have to look very closely into the circumstances of how the 2006 World Cup was awarded,'' Koch said.
Until know, German federation officials have been more concerned about a suspect payment to FIFA of 6.7 million euros ($7.22 million) in connection with the 2006 World Cup, which is also the target of a tax evasion investigation by German authorities.