FIFA 'disappointed' as trial involving German football officials closes without verdict

By Sports Desk April 28, 2020

A trial involving a number of leading German football officials is to finish without a verdict due to the statute of limitations expiring, leaving FIFA "deeply disappointed".

Franz Beckenbauer was one of four prominent German football figures investigated regarding allegations related to fraud, linked to payments alleged to have been made when the quartet were on the executive board of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup.

Beckenbauer was not indicted due to health reasons.

Three German officials - Theo Zwanziger, Horst Schmidt and Wolfgang Niersbach - were due to go on trial, along with former FIFA secretary general Urs Linsi, who is Swiss.

The investigation centred on the use of €7million – later reduced to €6.7m – which was supposed to be used to finance a gala, but was instead, the Swiss attorney general alleged, "to repay a debt that was not owed by the DFB [German Football Association]".

A DFB investigation in February 2016, attempting to explain the payments, linked Beckenbauer - who won the World Cup as a player and as a manager - with former FIFA executive Mohamed bin Hammam and the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, who was Adidas chief.

It led to claims the money had been used to purchase votes for the 2006 World Cup, allegations that Beckenbauer strenuously denied. He did accept the use of the funds - for a "FIFA subsidy" - was a mistake.

A statement from Switzerland's Federal Criminal Court confirmed on Tuesday the case could not "be concluded with a judgement" after the statute of limitations expired due to the coronavirus pandemic.

FIFA later insisted it will not give up on justice, with its statement reading: "FIFA is deeply disappointed that the trial related to the FIFA World Cup Germany 2006 will not take place because it has now become time barred.

"For its part, FIFA fully cooperated with this investigation over the years, responding to many requests made by the Office of the Attorney General and incurring significant costs and management time in doing so. The fact that the case has now ended without a result of any kind is very worrying, not only for football but also for the administration of justice in Switzerland.

"We hope that the truth around the CHF 10 million payment will one day come to light and that those having committed wrongful acts will be duly sanctioned, if not in Switzerland, then maybe somewhere else.

"For FIFA this case is certainly not over as we cannot and will not accept that a CHF 10 million payment is made from FIFA accounts without a proper reason. Even if this has happened many years ago and was symptomatic for the old FIFA, FIFA's independent ethics committee will continue to investigate on this and other similar matters.

"Furthermore, FIFA will continue to cooperate with all state law enforcement agencies, including those in Switzerland, in the hope and belief that all those responsible for causing harm to football will finally be held to account for their actions and will not be able to hide forever with their ill-gotten gains."

Criminal proceedings for alleged fraud or assistance to fraud in Switzerland cannot be initiated after 15 years have passed.

Related items

  • Bayern winger Sane ruled out of DFL-Supercup against Dortmund Bayern winger Sane ruled out of DFL-Supercup against Dortmund

    Bayern Munich winger Leroy Sane has been ruled out of the DFL-Supercup match against Borussia Dortmund with a knee injury.

    Sane sustained the problem in Sunday's shock 4-1 away defeat to Hoffenheim in the Bundesliga.

    He will subsequently be missing for Wednesday's Klassiker contest with Dortmund, while David Alaba is a doubt and will be checked closer to kick-off due to a muscular injury.

    Sane, who scored on his debut for the club against Schalke this month after signing from Manchester City, will also be out for Bayern's weekend league meeting with Hertha Berlin, their last game before the international break.

    "David has muscular problems, so we have to wait and see how that develops," explained head coach Hansi Flick at his pre-match news conference.

    "But Leroy is out - he has a capsule injury in his right knee and hopefully he will be back after the international break."

    Dortmund beat Bayern 2-0 in the 2019 Supercup, with Flick's men, who had won it in the previous three years, at home for this meeting as they look to bounce back from the Hoffenheim loss.

    "Dortmund have a fantastic, young side and they also have experience in their ranks," said Flick.

    "They play attractive, offensive football, which I like. This will be a test against one of Germany's best. This game will help to develop us.

    "My team's mentality is absolutely outstanding. Maybe one or two of them are slightly tired, but they always give 100 per cent on the pitch.

    "That was also the case in Hoffenheim, but unfortunately, we didn't do some things that well that day."

    With Sane injured, Champions League final hero Kingsley Coman is in contention to join Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller in support of striker Robert Lewandowski.

  • Man Utd youngsters can smell their chance under Solskjaer, says Shaw Man Utd youngsters can smell their chance under Solskjaer, says Shaw

    Manchester United youngsters can smell their opportunity to make a first-team breakthrough with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as manager, says defender Luke Shaw.

    Shaw is hoping to see some of United's younger talent thrive when the club travel to play Brighton and Hove Albion in the EFL Cup fourth round on Wednesday.

    It will be United's second match against Brighton in the space of five days after they somehow escaped with a 3-2 Premier League win in an incredible first meeting on Saturday.

    Discussing the likelihood of changes to the team for the EFL Cup, Shaw told MUTV: "I think that is something those younger players need to smell and know with this manager that they are going to get a chance.

    "They are always working hard, always pushing themselves and they know they will get a chance if they keep working.

    "Hopefully we can see some more youngsters on Wednesday and they can show what they can do.

    "Of course, it is a competition we want to win, but it gives the manager that opportunity to give chances to other players that are on the bench and on the fringe, who are training very hard to get chances.

    "Games like this are perfect for them. It is good that we have got a very strong squad with players who are ready to play and are ready to take their chance.

    "I am sure the players are looking forward to that on Wednesday.

    "Matches are coming thick and fast. They are competitions that we want to be strong in, we want to be winning and be challenging in, but it is also a chance for players to get game time and sharpness."

    Brighton hit the woodwork five times in the league meeting and netted a 95th-minute equaliser, only for Bruno Fernandes to score a match-winning penalty in the 10th minute of added time.

    That came after a VAR review for handball went in United's favour despite the final whistle being blown between the incident and the check.

    "Ups and downs really," reflected Shaw. "It was a game that was very important points-wise, although obviously we as players and the manager know we can perform much better.

    "Brighton are a really good team, they played really good football and had a lot of chances."

  • Insua backs Liverpool to maintain dominance after Thiago arrival Insua backs Liverpool to maintain dominance after Thiago arrival

    Former Liverpool defender Emiliano Insua believes the Premier League champions are primed for a new era of dominance following the signing of star Thiago Alcantara.

    Liverpool prised Thiago from Bayern Munich in a deal worth up to £25million earlier this month, after the Spaniard won seven successive Bundesliga crowns and the Champions League among other honours during his time in Germany.

    Thiago impressed on debut in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Chelsea on September 20, the 29-year-old replacing Jordan Henderson at half-time and completing more passes (75) than any Blues player managed in the entire match at Stamford Bridge.

    It was also the most by a Premier League player to have played a maximum of 45 minutes since full passing data became available in 2003-04 and Insua, who spent four years at Anfield from 2007, hailed ex-Barcelona star Thiago and Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool as they look to claim more trophies this season.

    "Liverpool were the best team last year in the world," LA Galaxy full-back Insua told Stats Perform News. "They kept almost the same team.

    "Now with Thiago and [Diogo] Jota, they want to be the best team in the world this year. It's a big signing for them. Thiago was showing at Bayern that he is almost the best midfielder in the world.

    "It's really important for Liverpool to keep growing and to keep the level they were at last season. Of course, I think they will maintain the same level this season."

    After being crowned European champions in 2018-19, Liverpool finally ended their Premier League drought last term – the club's first league title since 1990.

    Liverpool cruised to top-flight glory, with full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold instrumental to their success.

    Fellow full-back Insua, who also played for Atletico Madrid and Stuttgart before joining MLS side the Galaxy this year, praised the duo but highlighted Liverpool's collective quality.

    "They are the one of the best right-back and left-back in the world but they have a really good team also," the 31-year-old former Argentina international added.

    "In my opinion, you can be a good left-back or right-back when the team is helping you to work. Everyone at Liverpool defends and they also have the best centre-back [Virgil van Dijk] in the world. One of the most important players in the team.

    "For me, it's more teamwork and Liverpool were showing they were defending really well. Of course in attack, they have great quality. But they have one of the best left-backs in the world."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.