herald

Wednesday 23 August 2017

Der Kaiser: I didn't take World Cup vote bribes

Former FIFA member Franz Beckenbauer has insisted his vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups will remain "his secret", but said he was never offered any bribes or incentives during the bids.

Beckenbauer (above) was on the FIFA executive committee which awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.

The former Germany captain and coach admitted he was "surprised" that Qatar was awarded the tournament, and said the World Cup there should be played in the winter due to the heat.

He also added his voice to calls for FIFA to publish the Garcia report into allegations of World Cup bidding corruption.

Asked about his vote in 2010, Beckenbauer, a special advisor to FIFA's Football Committee, told the Securing Sport conference in London: "That's my secret."

He also responded to a question about whether he was ever offered financial incentives, saying: "That's a clear no. How shall I say this? Nobody approached me directly, nobody offered me anything in order to influence my vote, no this did not happen."

He added: "It was a secret ballot and I have to observe this agreement made at the time. I was surprised too that Qatar was chosen, that was my first reaction. The bid was very good by Qatar, like all the others."

Beckenbauer added that it was a waste of resources to play the 2022 tournament in the summer by air-conditioning stadiums, training facilities and fan zones.

"Is it really necessary to make such an effort if you could play in the winter when there are perfect playing conditions? My suggestion would be to hold the World Cup during the winter," said the German.

US attorney Michael Garcia, FIFA's chief ethics investigator, has compiled a report into the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, but FIFA president Sepp Blatter has said publication would breach witness confidentiality.

Beckenbauer was provisionally suspended in June for failing to comply with Garcia's questions before then agreeing to do so, and he said he had nothing to hide from the report being made public.

He said: "I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be published but that's a decision for FIFA. But personally there is nothing to hide, and if you have nothing to hide then you can publish and divulge it.

"A lot of things have happened over the past few years, all the scandals and corruptions and suspected sleaze. These are accusations, there is no evidence to my knowledge."

Meanwhile, Harold Mayne-Nicholls, the Chilean who was head of the technical commission which assessed all the bids in the 2018-2022 campaign, is understood to be considering whether to stand against Blatter for the FIFA presidency.

Only Frenchman Jerome Champagne has so far said he will stand, but Beckenbauer warned Blatter looks unbeatable with his support in Africa and Asia.

"It is difficult for anyone to beat him - that's why there are no alternative candidates," he said.

ends

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