Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
On Friday the magazine “Der Spiegel” claimed that there had been a “slush fund” and vote buying in relation to the award of the 2006 FIFA World Cup . In an interview, DFB President Wolfgang Niersbach submitted his thoughts.
DFB.de: Mr Niersbach, the magazine “Der Spiegel” reported on a “slush fund”, from which votes were allegedly paid for for the 2006 World Cup.
Wolfgang Niersbach: I can absolutely rule that out categorically. I can assure you that there have been definitely no “slush funds” at the DFB, the Application Committee or the organizing committee in connection with the promotion and awarding of the 2006 World Cup. The best candidate won, which we demonstrated through our arguments to choose Germany as host and which won by a margin of 12:11 votes.
DFB.de: For the 2006 World Cup, it has therefore been no vote buying, which as the “Der Spiegel” speculates?
Niersbach: Absolutely not. I can assure all football fans. Also, the “Der Spiegel” has called it evidence, but relies ultimately on an anonymous source posted by Günter Netzer, which has vehemently denied this in the same article. Again, the World Cup was not purchased.
DFB.de: In the press release on Friday the DFB announces legal action against the allegations.
Niersbach: We have, with our lawyer Professor Christian Schertz, asked to consider the Spiegel article with regards to media law. In particular, the question of what “Der Spiegel” cites as proof that there was vote-buying. Mr. Schertz already told us that “Der Spiegel” without any proof of this assertion at core of the story would be found guilty as a result. We have therefore asked him, to the extent that there was no eveidence included and the definitely incorrect core assertion of the “Der Spiegel” that the 2006 World Cup had been purchased with funds from a “slush fund” in the DFB or the Organising Committee, to take all possible legal steps.
DFB.de: Nevertheless, there was a payment from the World Cup organizing committee of €6.7 million to FIFA in 2005?
Niersbach: That there was such a process, we published last Friday. I have investigated it this summer and there has been an internal investigation. To clarify, there is an internal investigation under the remit of a control committee and the external investigation is being conducted by the international law firm Freshfields-Bruckhaus-Deringer. The outcome of the ongoing investigation is ongoing, but due to the schedules of this payment process I can now definitively rule out that the payment is linked to the World Cup award in the year 2000.
DFB.de: “Der Spiegel” claims to have a document from 2004, on a handwritten note from you.
Niersbach: Again, I’m completely honest: I can not remember it completely, especially since in my capacity as Vice-President Marketing and OK Media, I had only very limited involvement in economic transactions. I would therefore ask the editors of the “Der Spiegel” to provide us with this paper, in order to understand, what it is and whether it was my handwriting.
DFB.de: How will the DFB now proceed further?
Niersbach: The allegations hurt and at the DFB we are all deeply concerned that this wonderful summer story which our entire country celebrated and where we put on a show for the world, has now made headlines more than nine years later. In a teleconference on Friday our entire DFB Bureau expressed how important it is that we answer all the questions quickly and work together to achieve a complete investigation.
• This media release was originally published in German on the German Football Association’s (DFB) internet site on 17 October 2015. To access the original, please click here.
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