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Monday 5 December 2016

Former German FA head admits bribes

FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger
FIFA executive committee member Theo Zwanziger

Germany's former top blazer admitted that the country had used a secret 'slush fund' to pay bribes for the right to host the 2006 World Cup, contradicting repeated denials by his successor.

The comments by former German Football Association (DFB) president Theo Zwanziger looked set to fuel a deepening crisis over the running of world soccer, whose governing body FIFA is the target of corruption investigations in Switzerland and the United States.

"It is clear that there was a slush fund for the German World Cup bid," Zwanziger told Der Spiegel magazine, which first reported the allegations last week.

He brushed aside denials about the existence of the fund by Wolfgang Niersbach, the man now in charge of the association.

"It is also clear that the current DFB president knew about it - not, as he says, just a few weeks ago, but at least since 2005. The way I see it, Niersbach is lying," Zwanziger said in his first public comments on the affair.

He did not say how and when he himself knew of the fund's existence, or why he believed Niersbach was aware of it.

On Thursday, at a hastily arranged news conference in Frankfurt to address the accusations, Niersbach said: "Everything was legal with the awarding of the 2006 World Cup. No slush funds and no bought votes. This allegation ... is not true."

Niersbach also said, however, that he could not fully explain a payment of €6.7m from Germany's World Cup organising committee to FIFA in 2005.

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