FIFA committee recommends two-year ban for ex-German football boss

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."

Last update: Fri, 20/05/2016 - 13:33

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