Merkel calls for transparency amid football probes

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for more transparency in football in comments following corruption investigations which have affected the sport's governing body FIFA and the German federation DFB.

Merkel said in a podcast Saturday she hoped "in the world of football, also at FIFA, real transparency occurs."

Sport is "inextricably linked to fairness and when this is not reflected in the relevant organizations it will eventually lead to disappointment and damage sport overall," she said.

Merkel's comments come after an international law firm tasked by the DFB reported on its investigations at the federation which have centred on a payment of 6.7 million euros (7.4 million dollars) by the German federation to FIFA.

Lawyers from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer could not rule out whether the money was used to buy votes in connection with the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany, but said there was no direct evidence.

The report contradicted earlier statements from German football great Franz Beckenbauer, who was head of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee, that 10 million Swiss francs (6 million dollars) was paid in 2002 to FIFA's finance committee.

Instead the eventual recipient of transactions involving the DFB, FIFA and accounts held by Beckenbauer and his late manager Robert Schwan was a company in Qatar whose only partner was former FIFA top official Mohammed Bin Hammam, who in 2011 was banned from football for life.

Beckenbauer has not commented on the report.

Former German interior minister Otto Schily told Deutschlandfunk Saturday he could not deny that Beckenbauer had "acted recklessly in economic matters" but had perhaps depended on "advisers such as Herr Schwan."

Schily, who as interior minister was on the supervisory board of the World Cup organizing committee, said Beckenbauer's contribution around the 2006 World Cup would not be diminished by the affair.

Designated DFB president Reinhard Grindel said Beckenbauer had made through his lawyers "a considerable contribution" in recent days to helping investigators ascertain the money flows to Qatar.

"We are grateful to him for that," he told Deutschlandfunk.

Last update: Thu, 23/06/2016 - 18:24
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