Germany Fifa crisis: Tax raid on German football association

November 3, 2015, 11:13am

The current DFB President, Wolfgang Niersbach, has denied that a slush fund to secure votes existed- Photo by AP  

By BBC News

Police in Frankfurt have raided the headquarters of the German Football Association (DFB) over allegations of tax evasion linked to 2006 Fifa World Cup, prosecutors say.

The homes of DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach and his predecessor, Theo Zwanziger, were also being searched.

It follows reports that a secret €6.7m (£4.9m) fund was set up to secure votes for Germany to host the 2006 World Cup.

The DFB denied the claims last month, reported in Der Spiegel news weekly.

In a statement, the prosecutor's office said it had opened a probe into claims of serious tax evasion linked to the awarding of the World Cup in 2006.

It said it was investigating the alleged transfer of €6.7m from "the organising committee for the DFB to the Fifa football association".

Mr Niersbach has denied the allegations, claiming instead that the sum was used to secure larger Fifa funding.

But, speaking to Der Spiegel, Mr Zwanziger accused his successor of lying, saying it was "clear that a slush fund existed".

A photo taken in October 2015 shows Wolfgang Niersbach, President of the German Football Federation (DFB), standing behind the football of the 1954 final World Cup match during his visit at the new German Football Museum in Dortmund, western Germany.

Tuesday's raids also targeted the home of DFB ex-general secretary Horst Schmidt, according to AFP news agency.

Franz Beckenbauer who was president of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup, said last week he had made a "mistake" in the bidding process in 2000 to host the 2006 World Cup, but denied that votes were bought.

A former World Cup-winning captain and ex-Germany coach, Mr Beckenbauer instead backed up Mr Niersbach's argument that a payment was used to unlock Fifa subsidies.

"In order to receive a financial subsidy from Fifa, it was agreed to accept a recommendation from Fifa's finance committee, which from today's perspective, should have been rejected," he said.

Der Spiegel said the DFB fund to buy votes was set up using money loaned by late Adidas boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus.

Fifa said it would investigate the "serious allegations".

World football's governing body has for months been engulfed by the biggest corruption scandal in its history.

In May, 14 football officials and sports marketing executives were indicted by the US Department of Justice on charges of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption.

Meanwhile, a separate Swiss investigation began looking into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which will be held in Russia and Qatar respectively.

Then, last month, Fifa's outgoing president Sepp Blatter, 79, was provisionally suspended, along with secretary general Jerome Valcke and vice-president Michel Platini amid further allegations of corruption.

Mr Blatter is under investigation by Swiss prosecutors over allegations that he signed a contract that was "unfavourable to Fifa" and made a "disloyal payment" to Mr Platini, head of European football's governing body, Uefa.