Germany’s current cash-for-votes scandal, concerning the awarding of the 2006 World Cup, could hurt the nation’s hopes of hosting future sporting events, says the chair of the Bundestag’s sports committee.
The German Football Association (DFB) is currently under investigation by FIFA over an unexplained payment of 6.7 million euros ($7.4 million) made a decade ago by the 2006 World Cup organising committee to football’s governing body.
Hamburg is an official candidate to host the 2024 Olympic Games and the DFB is planning to bid to host the European football championships the same year.
But senior politician Dagmar Freitag, who heads the Bundestag’s sports committee — which has requested a hearing with DFB president Wolfgang Niersbach — says there could be repercussions from the current scandal.
“Particularly in the context of the applications for major international events, politics is a factor,” Freitag told German broadcaster WDR.
“Certain major events will only be awarded by the international federations if guarantees are also given by the corresponding governments.
“That is always going to be assessed on an individual basis, but at the moment, of course, we will look even more closely when it comes to football.”
In a separate interview, Freitag highlighted the impact of the current scandal on the international stage.
“I was in the US last week on business and was asked about it by members of Congress, as well as representatives from the German-American business council,” she said.
“So this obviously plays a role abroad. The damage is done, but the question for me is: how big will this get?”
The DFB has commissioned renowned law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to audit the 2006 World Cup bid to get to the bottom of the scandal.
Freitag said it would be good if there was also an investigation by the German authorities as Frankfurt-based federal prosecutors are currently considering looking into the matter.
“I have been saying for years that I have great doubts about the self-cleaning of sports (federations),” she said.
“Especially in the case of the DFB, many figures linked to the subject are still directly involved and I think it’s good that the matter is being reviewed externally.
“In the case of FIFA, you look at what the US Department of Justice has brought to light and probably it would be very good if the German investigating authorities dealt with it,” Freitag told broadcaster ZDF.
Photo Credits : AFP