Germany's 2006 World Cup Scandal Is Back with a Vengence
FIFA has enjoyed a scandal free few months, but that doesn't mean everything has blown over.
Der Kaiser, a.k.a. Franz Beckenbauer, a.k.a. Germany's Michael Jordan, is back in the news. On Thursday morning, police raided Beckenbauer's Austrian home as part of an investigation into the bidding process that eventually handed Germany the 2006 World Cup.
Beckenbauer is a legend in Germany; he is the only person to ever win the World Cup as a player and a coach. That legacy is peril, however, as he is now accused of helping facilitate $7.3 million in payments the German Football Federation (DFB) made to FIFA, routed through now-deceased Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus, during the World Cup host selection process. Beckenbauer was president of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee.
According to the AP, the raid was part of an investigation Swiss authorities began in secret "last November but confirmed only on Thursday."
But wait! you say. I thought this whole thing already blew over!
You're not entirely wrong! The scandal first erupted last fall, after Germany's Der Spiegel magazine published a report alleging the DFB had a slush fund to bribe FIFA officials. DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach resigned weeks later, and the federation commissioned an investigation into the allegations. That probe found "no evidence" of wrongdoing, but it didn't specifically rule anything out, either. Things cooled down a bit after that, but now they appear to have heated back up.
According to the AP, Beckenbauer is not the only suspect. Niersbach, Niersbach's predecessorTheo Zwanziger, and Horst Schmidt, the vice-president of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee, are also under investigation. The AP writes that "the four are suspected of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation [of the] 6.7 million euros ($7.3 million) linked to FIFA prior to the tournament," said