Wolfgang Niersbach, the president of the German Football Association, stepped down from his post yesterday following his alleged involvement in a 2006 World Cup scandal.
The scandal, one of the recent revelatory incidents of corruption at FIFA, involved the buying of votes to secure the rights to stage the 2006 World Cup. Niersbach is being investigated for tax evasion in relation to the affair, and the 64-year-old resigned as he took political responsibility for the entire saga. However, he denied any wrongdoing.
“In order to protect the DFB and the position, I step down as DFB president with a heavy heart. I decided to resign because I realised I had to take the political responsibility,” Niersbach was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
It was alleged that former Adidas chief Robert Louis-Dreyfus set up a €6.7m slush fund to bribe FIFA officials to vote for Germany’s 2006 World Cup bid. But Niersbach denied any wrongdoing and instead preached his honesty, revealing his ignorance of any payment.
“I was there from the first day of the bid for the 2006 World Cup until the end … and in all these years I worked not only in a clean way but also with passion and trust.
“That makes it even more depressing and painful to be confronted years later with processes I had nothing to do with. I want to make it clear once more that I was not aware of the payments in question. That’s what makes the decision to suffer the political consequence so much harder,” he added.
FIFA To Investigate Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko
Vitaly Mutko, a member of FIFA’s executive committee and the chairman of the organising committee of the 2018 World Cup, is set to be investigated by FIFA for his alleged involvement in unethical doping practices in Russian athletics.
World football’s governing body will examine the World Anti-Doping Agency’s report into drug abuse in Russian athletics for potential misconduct by Mutko. Mutko is currently Russia’s sports minister.
“We will carefully analyse the findings of the report,” said a spokesman for FIFA’s ethics committee. Although allegations on Mutko aren’t strictly linked with football, FIFA’s code of ethics prompts it to investigate its members for any wrongdoing.
Fifa’s code of ethics principally aims at prohibiting financial corruption, discrimination and harassment, and also includes a duty to “show commitment to an ethical attitude”.