BY MICHAEL HOUSTON
FIFA President Gianni Infantino says the organisation is still trying to get its money back despite a fraud trial over a CFH10 million (£8.3 million/$10.3 million/€9.5 million) payment in relation to the 2006 World Cup collapsing.
Infantino also hinted that the FIFA Ethics Committee will pursue its own investigation into the accused, according to Inside World Football.
Former leading German Football Association (DFB) officials Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst Schmidt, as well as former FIFA secretary general Urs Linsi, had been charged.
Prosecutors alleged that they misled the DFB about the destination of the payment, yet the Swiss trial ended without a verdict in April after the five-year statute of limitations passed.
Legendary German footballer Franz Beckenbauer, who led Germany’s bid for the 2006 World Cup and was chairman of the Organising Committee, was under investigation but never charged owing to his health, according to the Office of the Attorney General.
The coronavirus pandemic contributed to the statute of limitations passing.
he DFB claims the payment was the return of a personal loan taken out by Beckenbauer from then-Adidas chief executive Robert Louis-Dreyfus, which went through a FIFA account, but investigators noted that the DFB had earmarked the payment as a contribution to a non-existent World Cup gala event.
Allegations have been raised over the legitimacy of the 2006 World Cup bid, which was successful by just a one-vote margin as Germany beat South Africa 12-11 in the final round.
The Office of the Attorney General claimed the money ended up in the possession of a Qatari company belonging to the disgraced Mohamed Bin Hammam, a former FIFA Executive and Finance Committee member who was banned from the sport for life for various offences in 2011.
“Of course we are not happy with the way the process was concluded,” Infantino said in a video press conference.
“Just because the process was not concluded in time, it doesn’t mean… we are going to sit down as if nothing happened.
“Ten million Swiss francs were paid out of a FIFA account.
“Even if it was many, many years ago – much earlier than when I became FIFA President – it’s something we cannot just sit still about and accept.”
Infantino also suggested the accused could still be held accountable by FIFA.
“We will continue to analyse this and we also have our ethic bodies as well who are looking into it,” he added.
“Obviously they were all waiting for the outcome of the Swiss criminal process.
“The story has not finished, even if it concerns the past, we will not accept that 10 million Swiss francs can just go out without a proper reason.”
FIFA has been dogged by corruption scandals for much of the last decade, with investigations into some still ongoing.
Earlier this week, former FIFA deputy secretary general Markus Kattner was banned from football for 10 years after being found guilty of conflicts of interest and abusing his position in the wake of an illicit bonus and pay rise scheme.
Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter and ex-secretary general Jérôme Valcke, who were also implicated in the investigation, are serving six- and 10-year bans from the sport respectively.