Report on 2006 World Cup bribery allegations expected Mar. 4

BERLIN (AP) The findings of an investigation commissioned by the German football federation (DFB) into bribery allegations concerning the awarding of the 2006 World Cup will be published on March 4.

The DFB said in a statement Thursday that law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which it tasked with a ''comprehensive investigation of all allegations'' will present its report to its 45-member committee and then at a press conference the same day. The findings will also be made available online.

The federation said it would not comment on media reports beforehand but will ''carry out an assessment as soon as the report is complete'' and that ''the DFB leadership will comment on the short to medium-term consequences of the events.''

Allegations that Germany's World Cup organizing committee may have bought votes to secure the awarding of the 2006 tournament were first made by German weekly Der Spiegel on Oct. 16.

Der Spiegel alleged that German bidders used a slush fund to buy four Asian votes, an allegation subsequently repeated by former DFB president Theo Zwanziger.

DFB officials said a 6.7 million euro payment was made to FIFA in return for a much larger financial grant to the 2006 World Cup organizing committee. The money was paid on the DFB's behalf by former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus and later repaid by the federation.

The circumstances behind the payment remain murky, however, and prompted a tax evasion probe by German authorities. Zwanziger, his successor Wolfgang Niersbach - who resigned as DFB president on Nov. 9 - and another high-ranking DFB official are under investigation.

Jan Bessling of Freshfields told The Associated Press that the firm would not confirm nor deny any reported details until it had completed its investigations.

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