Report says Germany bought the rights to host the 2006 FIFA World Cup

German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer allegedly knew about the fund.
German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer allegedly knew about the fund.
Image: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach
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Germany may have spent up to 10.3 million Swiss francs (about $11 million today) in bribes to host the World Cup in 2006, according to documents obtained by German newspaper Der Spiegel.

The newspaper alleges that the German bidding committee set up a slush fund, that was secretly filled by then-CEO of Adidas Robert Louis-Dreyfus. The money—which never appeared in an official committee budget—is said to have been used to get four votes from Asian representatives on the FIFA Executive Committee. (Quartz has contacted FIFA and the German Football Association (DFB) and will update with any comment. )

Germany won the championship bid in a close call vote, 12:11 in July 2000.

Several years later, but before the 2006 championship took place, German soccer officials appear to have found a way to return  the borrowed funds to Louis-Dreyfus. According to Der Spiegel, FIFA, the sport’s global governing body, helped facilitate the payment, allowing the Germans to pay 6.7 million euros for a FIFA gala that never happened. FIFA then transferred the money to Louis-Dreyfus.

Both the head of the bidding committee and German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer, and Wolfgang Niersbach, current head of the German Football Federation, are said to have known about the slush fund by 2005, at the latest.

FIFA has been embroiled in the biggest corruption scandal in its history, which keeps getting worse and worse.