fifa.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Ben Sutherland, used under CC BY

FIFA's ethics committee Friday opened adjudicatory proceedings against former German football federation (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach and will consider a two-year football ban.

The case concerns Niersbach's conduct relating to Germany's bid for 2006 World Cup when he was vice-president of the German organizing committee.

The adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee will consider a two-year ban on all football-related activity recommended by the committee's investigatory chamber, an ethics committee statement said.

Niersbach resigned as DFB chief in November in the wake of the affair surrounding a payment made to football governing body FIFA connected to the 2006 World Cup. He remains on the new FIFA Council and the executive committee of European football body UEFA.

The investigatory chamber began its investigations into Niersbach on March 22. In its final report, it cited violations of four articles of the FIFA code of ethics, and also recommended a fine of 30,000 Swiss francs (some 30,000 dollars).

Niersbach said he would contest any sanctions and use all legal means possible in "a question of honour and to safeguard my personal rights."

Niersbach said the judgement was as harsh as previous rulings relating to corruption. But his case concerned an accusation he did not inform the ethics committee of matters, which he only learned about gradually himself last summer, relating to the 2006 World Cup.

"Also given the fact that I have already taken political responsibility with my resignation as DFB president in November 2015, a ban, which actually amounts to a global professional ban in football, as well as the recommended fine is in my view in no proportion to the accusations against me," he said.

Niersbach resigned as DFB president on November 9 in the fall out over a payment made by the 2006 World Cup organizing committee, under its president Franz Beckenbauer, of 6.7 million euros (7.4 million dollars) to FIFA.

German prosecuting authorities have launched a tax evasion investigation into Niersbach, former DFB president Theo Zwanziger and former DFB secretary general Horst R Schmidt around the payment made in 2005.

The affair ended a long direct association with the federation for Niersbach, 65, who was appointed DFB secretary general in October 2007 and succeeded Zwanziger as the federation's president on March 2, 2012. However he remains the federation's representative on the key FIFA and UEFA bodies.

Beckenbauer has also been the focus of inquiries around the 2006 World Cup which led to the DFB hiring outside law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to investigate.

In a report in March on its investigation, the law firm said it found no evidence of vote buying around the awarding of the 2006 World Cup, but new unclear payments - including from an account held by Beckenbauer - had emerged.

Freshfield said some 10 million Swiss francs were transferred in 2002 from the account of a Swiss law firm to an account in Qatar of a company whose only partner was former FIFA top official Mohamed Bin Hammam.

In February, Beckenbauer was fined 7,000 Swiss francs and given a warning by the ethics committees for failing to cooperate with its investigation into bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar respectively.

He had been provisionally banned in June 2014 for 90 days regarding the case, and as a result did not travel to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup won by Germany.

However the ethics committee in February said the case "did not look into the matters related to the awarding" of the 2006 World Cup to Germany."

Latest news

EU anti-fraud office eyeing claims against Merkel challenger Schulz

Martin Schulz, the main contender against German Chancellor Angela Merkel in upcoming elections, could face a probe for advocating questionable bonuses and promotions while European Parliament president, the EU's anti-fraud office said Thursday.

EFA calls on Croatian state leadership to protect Croatian cinema

The European Film Academy, along with the 600 Croatian professionals who signed the manifesto of "We’ve Had Enough", expressed its belief in the importance of the independence of Croatian film, and in preserving the autonomy of the existing Croatian audio visual model and the continuity of current practices.

PSA chief: We want to keep Opel German

The head of French carmaker PSA Group, which last week revealed that it was in talks to buy Opel from General Motors, said that Opel should remain German if the deal goes through.

Bayern round the clock - German champions launch own TV channel

Bayern Munich fans will be able to follow goings on at the Bundesliga record champions in a new way from next week when the club launches its own television channel.

'Weather bomb' hits transport, cuts power to 56,000 homes in Ireland

Storm Doris brought winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour to large areas of Ireland and Britain on Thursday, disrupting transport links and causing power cuts to tens of thousands of homes.

Croatia's registered unemployment rate rises to 15.4% in January

The registered unemployment rate in Croatia rose from 14.8% in December 2016 to 15.4% in January 2017, increasing for the fourth month in a row, the National Bureau of Statistics (DZS) said Thursday.

Norway's telecom group Telenor to leave Indian market

Norwegian telecommunications group Telenor said Thursday it was leaving the Indian telecom market and transferring its businesses there to Bharti Airtel.

Iraq claims advance in retaking Mosul airport from Islamic State

Iraqi forces wrested back half of Mosul's airport from Islamic State Thursday, shortly after entering the facility during their ongoing campaign to drive the extremist militia from its last key stronghold in the country.

Rights group: Video shows Cambodian police beating election candidate

A video posted on YouTube shows eight Cambodian paramilitary police beating a man identified as an opposition candidate at a Phnom Penh shopping mall, a rights group said Thursday. 

Malaysia asks Interpol to issue alert for suspects in N Korean death

Malaysia on Thursday requested that Interpol issue an alert for four North Koreans suspected of involvement in last week's killing of Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

British suspect arrested in Deutsche Telekom hacking

A 29-year-old British citizen suspected of involvement in a cyberattack that left nearly 1 million Deutsche Telekom customers without services last year has been arrested, German federal police said on Thursday.

Eight killed as bomb targets restaurant in Pakistan’s Lahore

A bomb ripped through a high-end restaurant in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Thursday, killing eight people, officials said, marking another attack amid a surge in violence by Islamist militants that has ended months of fragile calm.