Franz Beckenbauer faces new allegations of corruption with The Mail on Sunday reporting that he played “a central role in endorsing a financial inducement to Malta just weeks before that country voted for Germany to stage the 2006 World Cup. “Our investigation suggests that Beckenbauer … was complicit in influencing the votes of FIFA’s executive committee in 2000, in a bid process for the 2006 tournament in which England lost out,” says the newspaper, having obtained “secret document showing that a lucrative deal was struck in June 2000 for Bayern Munich to face Malta in a friendly”. Allegedly, the Maltese Football Association was paid 250,000 US$ just five weeks before its then president, Josef Mifsud voted for Germany to host the 2006 tournament just five weeks later.
According to the present Maltese FA president, Norman Darmanin Demajo, Beckenbauer, who at that time was the president of FC Bayern as well as of the 2006 bid committee was personally involved in negotiating the deal for the friendly match with Mifsud in early June 2000. “A hush-hush contract was subsequently drawn up, including a remarkable clause stating that even the existence of that contract should remain secret,” says The Mail on Sunday. “In an ironic twist to England’s 2006 World Cup bid, Beckenbauer was in Malta sealing the deal with Mifsud at the same as Kevin Keegan’s national side were in Valletta for a friendly against Malta, itself an attempt to win a vote for England’s 2006 bid”.
The Malta vs FC Bayern friendly was eventually played in 2001. According to the secret contract, the Swiss-based CWL marketing agency, owned by the German Kirch Group, would pay 250,000 Dollars to the Malta FA for rights to the friendly. “Kirch had the rights to the 2006 World Cup and would earn handsomely from an event in Germany,” comments the London newspaper.
“Four months after the Bayern Munich contract was signed, I was informed that $250,000 had fallen from the sky into our association’s bank account,” Norman Darmanin Demajo is quoted as saying by The Mail on Sunday. “As treasurer, I questioned why, and discovered that Mifsud had signed the CWL-Bayern agreement on his own and without anyone’s knowledge, something that he was statutorily not allowed to do.” Former German international Gunter Netzer, who helped in the negotiations for CWL, insisted the transactions were “entirely normal” and said no money had been paid to individual FIFA voting members.
Claims that Beckenbauer was in Malta to help negotiate the contract was aired in court this year in a legal dispute between Demajo and Mifsud. During the case, in which Mifsud is suing for libel, he told the court Beckenbauer was in the negotiations. Mifsud, who is on holiday in the UK, last night refused to talk about the matter.
Franz Beckenbauer, Germany’s most iconic footballing hero is under public pressure ever since the news magazine Der Spiegel reported of slush funds the German 2006 bid committee used to bribe members of the FIFA Executive Committee to win the bid for the 2026 World Cup. The allegations , resulting from a payment by the late adidas boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus to the bid committee, lead to an embarrassing mud-slinging around former Germany’s football president Theo Zwnaziger who is believed to be one of the sources of Der Spiegel. Beckenbauer declared himself responsible for the confusion around the Louis-Dreyfus payment and the refunding of the 6.7 million Euros via a FIFA account. But he refuses any comments referring to the “ongoing investigations”.
Reprinted by Courtesy of Sport Intern, the international inside World Sports news letter.