FIFA open ethics probe into 2006 World Cup bidding

Franz Beckenbauer (AFP)
Franz Beckenbauer (AFP)

Geneva - FIFA's ethics committee on Tuesday launched an investigation targeting six people over their roles in the bidding process that awarded the 2006 World Cup to Germany, with the probe partly focused on alleged bribery.

Those targeted include, Wolfgang Niersbach, former German federation (DFB) president and Franz Beckenbauer, the ex-German international and DFB vice president.

Niersbach and former DFB secretary general Helmut Sandrock are being probed for possible failure to report violations of FIFA's ethics codes, an ethics committee statement said.

Beckenbauer is in a group with three other former top level DFB executives -- Theo Zwanziger, Horst R. Schmidt and Stefan Hans -- who are under investigation for "possible undue payments and contracts to gain an advantage in the 2006 FIFA World Cup host selection," the statement added.

The ethics committee said the decision to open the probe followed the release of a report commissioned by the DFB and carried out by business law specialists Freshfields which found that bribes may have been paid for votes in the bidding process.

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