Image: Soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer pauses to look out on the city on top of the Empire State Building during an event to celebrate the start of the New York Cosmos 2015 season, in New York April 17, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
By Karolos Grohmann
BERLIN (Reuters) – Franz Beckenbauer, the former World Cup-winning player and coach at the heart of a scandal surrounding the 2006 tournament, is unhappy with the German FA’s response to his offer of a “personal” discussion with the association.
The DFB is eager for Beckenbauer to provide answers on several issues including a controversial 2005 payment to FIFA and a draft contract with a disgraced former vice president at football’s global governing body.
At the heart of the affair is the 6.7 million euros (4.6 million pounds) payment from the German FA to FIFA that Der Spiegel magazine claimed in October was a return on a loan from then Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus to help buy votes for Germany’s World Cup bid at the FIFA election in 2000.
Beckenbauer, who headed the 2006 World Cup organising committee, has rejected allegations of a slush fund to buy votes for Germany’s bid but has previously admitted the payment to FIFA had been “a mistake in hindsight”.
In published excerpts of an interview with Germany’s Sueddeutsche Zeitung’s weekend edition, Beckenbauer said he had offered a “personal discussion” with German Football Association (DFB) bosses who did not respond to his request.
“When you know each other so long and then you do not get any reaction (to my letter) and learn everything from the television, then where are we?” he said.
“When and how is something that I will now decide calmly after discussing it with my lawyers,” he said when asked if he would talk again with the DFB.
The DFB, which could not be reached for comment, has said it wanted Beckenbauer to meet once more with the legal firm conducting an internal investigation and was not keen on a personal meeting.
Suspicion surrounding Beckenbauer has grown with the DFB saying a contract between him and former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, banned from football for life, was signed four days before the 2000 vote.
It offered a series of services, including friendly matches and coaching support to the head of CONCACAF, the governing body for North and Central America and the Caribbean, which Warner led from 1990 to 2011.
The World Cup affair has already claimed the head of the DFB with Wolfgang Niersbach, under investigation by the Frankfurt prosecutor for tax evasion over the payment to FIFA, resigning earlier this month.
Two other former World Cup organising committee members are under investigation following police raids on the German FA and private homes.
Beckenbauer is not under formal investigation.
(Editing by John O’Brien)
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