Berlin: German football legend Franz Beckenbauer is under growing pressure to explain his part in Germany's 2006 World Cup scandal amidst reports of a document pointing the finger at him.
Franz Beckenbauer. Pic/Getty Images
German football has lurched into a crisis over magazine Spiegel's report last month alleging that the votes of four members of FIFA's executive committee were bought in 2000, when Germany narrowly won the vote to host the 2006 finals.
Police step in
At the centre of the scandal is a 6.7 million-euro payment, which is alleged to have been used to purchase the support of FIFA's executive committee.
Last week, police carried out raids at the Frankfurt headquarters of the German Football Association (DFB), after which DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach resigned.
Despite his pivotal position in the 2006 World Cup — first in leading the successful bid and later as chairman of the tournament's organising committee —Beckenbauer (70) has stayed tight-lipped in the last fortnight, even as Niersbach took "political responsibility" in resigning as DFB boss.
However, now German daily Bild claims to have seen a draft agreement, signed in part by Beckenbauer, which it says was aimed at "buying votes for the German bid".
Munich's Sueddeutsche Zeitung also quoted sources having seen the same document, signed in July 2000, just four days before Germany beat South Africa by 12 votes to 11 for the right to host the 2006 World Cup finals.
Beckenbauer, who captained West Germany to the 1974 World Cup win and then coached the side that won the trophy in 1990, is already being investigated by FIFA's ethics committee, which is looking into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals to Russia and Qatar respectively.
But the 'Kaiser' is under increasing pressure to shed some light on the 2006 World Cup scandal. "I expect those who can contribute to the cleaning up, to do so," said Germany's Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere.
The agency representing Beckenbauer refused to comment to SID, an AFP subsidiary, but last month the German admitted making a "mistake" in the bidding process.