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Franz Beckenbauer faces new 2006 World Cup scrutiny over Malta friendly

Franz Beckenbauer is facing fresh questions over his role in securing the 2006 World Cup for Germany after the president of the Maltese FA raised concerns over a friendly match involving Bayern Munich.

Der Spiegel reported last month that the German World Cup bid committee had set up a €6.7 million slush fund to secure the votes of the four Asian members of the FIFA Executive Committee for the right to host the 2006 tournament. 

German FA (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach has denied the claims and insisted that the €6.7m, which was paid to FIFA in 2002 by the late former Adidas CEO Robert Louis-Dreyfus, was used to release a grant of €170m for the organisation of the tournament.

Niersbach said Beckenbauer had vouched for the money, which was repaid to Louis-Dreyfus through a FIFA account in 2005, but the DFB president could not explain why that course of events had been necessary.

Beckenbauer, who was head of the bid committee as well as Bayern's president at that time, has denied any wrongdoing and the existence of any slush fund, but investigations are ongoing at the DFB as well as prosecutors in Frankfurt, who are weighing up whether to press charges against members of the organising committee.

Beckenbauer, a legendary figure in German football after helping the nation to World Cup success as both player and coach, faces additional scrutiny over a friendly arranged between his Bayern side and the Maltese national team .

The Mail on Sunday reported that it had obtained documents showing that a lucrative deal was struck in 2000, prior to the World Cup vote, during a secret meeting between Beckenbauer and Josef Mifsud, who was then head of Malta's FA and one of the voters for the 2006 hosting rights.

The document is alleged to show that $250,000 went to the Maltese FA, paid by broadcasting firm CWL, which was owned by the late German media giant Leo Kirch, who also held the rights for the 2006 World Cup.

The report added that the contract included "a remarkable clause stating that even the existence of that contract should remain secret."

Norman Darmanin Demajo, the current Maltese FA president, told the Mail: "Franz Beckenbauer was directly involved in the negotiations for the Bayern friendly."

Demajo was the treasurer of the Maltese FA at the time of the agreement and said: "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.

"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.

"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."

Franz Beckenbauer was head of Germany's 2006 World Cup bid committee.

Bayern also agreed friendlies in Thailand, Tunisia and Trinidad ahead of the World Cup vote, with all TV rights held by CWL.

According to reports in Suddeutsche Zeitung and Manager Magazin in 2003, former FIFA Executive Committee members Worawi Makudi, of Thailand, and Jack Warner, of Trinidad and Tobago, were contract partners of CWL.

While Bayern played the friendlies against the national teams of Thailand and Malta as well as a game against Tunisian club L'Esperance Tunis, they never made it to the Caribbean "due to time constraints."

When confronted with the allegations by Bild in 2003, Beckenbauer had replied: "Whoever thinks that you can get a World Cup through friendlies has no clue."

Fedor Radmann, Beckenbauer's advisor and a member of the bid committee, had also rejected the allegations at the time, saying: "Whoever walks around with huge envelopes has already lost. There are clear rules you have to adhere to and we adhered to them."

Radmann also worked as consultant for the Kirch group and Adidas.

In June this year, in the aftermath of the arrests of several FIFA officials in Zurich in late May, German media reported on several other incidents leading up to the 12-11 vote in favour of Germany in July 2000.

In April 2000, car manufacturer Daimler Chrysler, the parent company of DFB sponsor Mercedes, began a partnership with Hyundai, which ended in 2004.

The South Korean car manufacturer went on to become a main sponsor at the 2006 World Cup, and was able to double its brand recognition in Germany from 25 percent to 50 percent

Chung Mong-Joon, a South Korean who was then on the FIFA Executive Committee, is the sixth son of the Hyundai conglomerate founder Chung Ju-Yung.

Chung Mong-Joon was recently handed a six-year ban from football by FIFA's ethics committee after he was investigated over the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding contest. 

Die Zeit had also alleged in June that, eight days ahead of the World Cup vote, the German government had sent a shipment of rocket-propelled grenades to Saudi Arabia, the home of then FIFA Executive Committee member Abdullah Khalid Al Dabal, who died in 2008.

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