Baku. 1 November. REPORT.AZ/ The reputation of German football and its most lauded figurehead, Franz Beckenbauer, is in renewed peril as The Mail on Sunday can reveal that he is alleged to have had a central role in endorsing a financial inducement to Malta just weeks before that country voted for Germany to stage the 2006 World Cup. Report informs referring to RIA Novosti.
Our investigation suggests that Beckenbauer, Germany's most iconic footballing hero, was complicit in influencing the votes of FIFA's executive committee in 2000, in a bid process for the 2006 tournament in which England lost out.
Beckenbauer, 70, was the president of Bayern Munich at the time as well as the head of Germany's 2006 organising committee.
Secret document showing that a lucrative deal was struck in June 2000 for Bayern Munich to face Malta in a friendly was found.
It shows a benefit of $250,000 (£162,000) to the Maltese FA, whose then president, Josef Mifsud, voted for Germany to host the 2006 tournament just five weeks later.
Germany's hosting of 2006 has been tarnished in recent weeks with the accusation in German magazineDer Spiegelthat there was €6.7 million (£4.8m) slush fund used to buy votes. Beckenbauer has denied any knowledge of the fund.
According to the present Maltese FA president, Norman Darmanin Demajo, Beckenbauer was personally involved in negotiations for the deal for the friendly match with Mifsud in early June 2000.
A hush-hush contract was subsequently drawn up, including a remarkable clause stating that even the existence of that contract should remain secret.
In an ironic twist to England's 2006 World Cup bid, Beckenbauer — nicknamed 'The Kaiser' in his playing days because of his elegant playing style and leadership qualities — was in Malta sealing the deal with Mifsud at the same as Kevin Keegan's national side were in Valletta for a friendly against Malta, itself an attempt to win a vote for England's 2006 bid.
England's ill-fated bid, which cost £11m, was doomed to failure, earning five votes in the first round of bidding and two in the next round. Germany's bid won 12-11 in the final round against South Africa, and only now are details emerging about the precise conditions in which Germany secured support.
The secret meeting between Beckenbauer and Mifsud was, sources say, at Mifsud's private residence. The contract was signed a month before the vote in July 2000 that gave Germany the 2006 World Cup.
'Franz Beckenbauer was directly involved in the negotiations for the Bayern friendly,' said Demajo.
'My understanding is that he was in Malta on the day the contract was signed with Mifsud. The Germans have always claimed they did nothing wrong. They may not have put money in envelopes, but the end result was the same. The jigsaw all fits together.' Demajo was the Malta FA treasurer when the contract was signed but knew nothing about it until four months later.
The friendly was eventually played in 2001. According to the secret contract, a broadcasting firm called CWL, owned by German media firm Kirch, would pay $250,000 to the Malta FA for rights to the friendly. Kirch had the rights to the 2006 World Cup and would earn handsomely from an event in Germany. 'Four months after the Bayern Munich contract was signed, I was informed that $250,000 had fallen from the sky into our association's bank account,' said Demajo.
'As treasurer, I questioned why, and discovered that Mifsud had signed the CWL-Bayern agreement on his own and without anyone's knowledge, something that he was statutorily not allowed to do.'
The contract swears all parties to secrecy, saying: 'They shall keep strictly confidential the content of this agreement and not make any disclosure thereof to any third parties. In order to secure this obligation, the parties undertake to limit knowledge of the existence and content of this agreement.'
Claims that Beckenbauer was in Malta to help negotiate the contract was aired in court this year in a legal dispute between Demajo and Mifsud. During the case, in which Mifsud is suing for libel, he told the court Beckenbauer was in the negotiations. Mifsud, who is on holiday in the UK, last night refused to talk about the matter.
'I've been out of football for many years and I am not prepared to make any comment on this, either to you or anyone else,' he said.
Former German international Gunter Netzer, who helped in the negotiations for CWL, said the transactions were 'entirely normal' and said no money had been paid to individual FIFA voting members. But there are questions over why the contract only came to light several months later. There are also unconfirmed reports that the figure was $300,000 (£194,000), though mystery surrounds what happened to remaining $50,000. When Demajo raised questions about the secret deal, he says he was forced out of office.
'Give me one logical reason why Beckenbauer would have flown to Malta, had a meeting with Mifsud and then a secret contract is drawn up so that Bayern play here,' said Demajo last night.
'And give me one good reason why Bayern should want to go to Malta, pay all the expenses and give us a quarter of a million and then leave. That's an insult to my intelligence.'
FIFA ethics officials recently confirmed Beckenbauer is under investigation for not cooperating with an inquiry into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded. It is not known if there is an investigation into the 2006 bid allegations.
Beckenbauer's office have not responded to questions about the Malta contract.