Germany, Franz Beckenbauer, and the ghost of Charlie Dempsey

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Havelange, Blatter, Blazer, Valcke, Warner, Texeira, Platini… Franz Beckenbauer can now add his name to the list of The Untouchables who – it turns out – are in fact touchable by the law.

Beckenbauer, often known as “Der Kaiser” or “The King” during his playing career, is being investigated by Swiss prosecutors for corruption related to the 2006 World Cup.

Beckenbauer is among the members of the 2006 organizing committee suspected of fraud, criminal mismanagement, money laundering, and misappropriation.

Swiss prosecutors named four suspects and their roles in their investigation:

  • Franz Beckenbauer: Former vice-president of the German Football Association (DFB), president of the 2006 World Cup local organising committee (LOC) and former member of the Fifa executive committee
  • Wolfgang Niersbach: Former president of the DFB, vice-president of the LOC and current member of the Fifa and Uefa executive committees
  • Theo Zwanziger: Former president of the DFB, vice-president of the LOC and former member of the Fifa and Uefa executive committees
  • Horst Rudolf Schmidt: Former secretary-general of the DFB and vice-president of the LOC

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According to the Swiss Attorney General:

“The investigations focus on the joint financing of a gala event, initially at the cost of €7m later reduced to €6.7m. It is suspected the suspects knew this sum was not being used to fund the gala event but instead to repay a debt that was not owed by the DFB.

“In particular, it is suspected the suspects wilfully misled their fellow members of the executive board of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup.

“This was presumably done by the use of false pretences or concealment of the truth, thus inducing the other committee members to act in a manner that caused DFB a financial loss.”

Infamously, in the 2000 ballot, Germany beat South Africa 12-11 to host the 2006 World Cup. Charlie Dempsey, a FIFA executive committee member from New Zealand, abstained from voting citing “intolerable pressure” from German and South African lobbyists.

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Dempsey had been instructed by the Oceania Football Confederation to vote for South Africa.

He died in 2008 at the age of 87.

 

 

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