BERLIN – Soccer great Franz Beckenbauer says he never paid anyone to secure votes for Germany's 2006 World Cup bid following allegations that bribes were involved.
Beckenbauer, who headed the bidding committee, says in a statement issued through his management, "I never had money given to anyone to acquire votes for the awarding of the 2006 football World Cup to Germany. And I am certain that no other member of the bidding committee did it either."
The 70-year-old Beckenbauer was responding to Friday's report by German newsweekly Der Spiegel which alleged a slush fund of 10.3 million Swiss francs (about $6 million at that time) was set up to buy the votes of four Asian representatives on FIFA's 24-member executive committee.
German football federation (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach rejected the allegations Saturday.