Germany’s Football Association (DFB) President Reinhard Grindel sharply criticised Franz Beckenbauer on Wednesday over payment from a sponsor of the 2006 World Cup the soccer great had headed.
Beckenbauer, who led the organising committee for the World Cup in Germany and had said he had done the work on a voluntary basis, received 5.5 million euros ($6.17 million) from a deal involving event sponsor Oddset. He had not been paid directly by betting company Oddset but through the DFB as part of a deal that was only revealed on Tuesday.
“It was known that Franz Beckenbauer had been active in advertising for Oddset during the 2006 World Cup. It was not known to us that he received the noteworthy sum of 5.5 million euros out of the organising committee pot,” Grindel told reporters.
“With this background one can certainly not claim that his activities within the organising committee were on a volunteer basis,” Grindel, speaking on the sidelines of a UEFA meeting in the Greek capital, said. Beckenbauer, who also faces a criminal investigation over the awarding of the World Cup, has not been available for comment.
The former World Cup winning coach and player appeared in adverts for Oddset during the tournament but had always insisted his work for the organising committee was unpaid. Grindel took over in April following the resignation of his predecessor Wolfgang Niersbach late last year over another World Cup 2006 scandal.
“For me it is incomprehensible why the organising committee insisted on that for so long,” Grindel said. “For me this frustrating issue is more proof the organising committee of the World Cup wanted to block out things, that there was no transparency there and that the public was partly misled. I condemn that.”
Beckenbauer is already under investigation by Swiss authorities, who have opened criminal proceedings against him and two former presidents of the DFB in connection with its successful bid for that World Cup. The Swiss Attorney General’s office said the proceedings relate to allegations of fraud, criminal mismanagement, money laundering and misappropriation.
Earlier this year, the DFB commissioned a report into alleged irregularities over the awarding of the World Cup. The report, published in March, said that, while there was no evidence of Germany paying world soccer’s governing body FIFA members in return for votes, payments were made to at least one former FIFA official.
These were made through a web of accounts involving several other firms or individuals, including Beckenbauer. Beckenbauer, who captained West Germany to the 1974 World Cup title and was coach when they won again in 1990, has previously admitted to making mistakes but has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.