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Wolfgang Niersbach regrets not telling DFB about Qatar payment

Wolfgang Niersbach resigned in November.

Former German football association president Wolfgang Niersbach has expressed regret at not telling his fellow DFB board members about a €6.7 million payment to an account in Qatar in 2005 when he was made aware of it 10 years later.

Niersbach admitted the last few months have been the worst of his life amid allegations he had known about a payment made in the run-up to the 2006 World Cup, which Germany hosted, allegedly made to secure votes to stage the tournament.

Niersbach resigned as DFB president once details of the payment came to light last November, while an independent report this week revealed the flow of payments which ended up in Qatar.

The report's authors concluded that a lack of evidence meant it could not be confirmed the payment had been used to obtain votes.

"I could never have imagined in my worst nightmares what has happened over the past few weeks and months,'' Niersbach told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper. "I regret it, but I did not want to hide or mislead anybody. I just wanted to clear everything up before being able to present satisfactory results to the board.

"If you drive through a red light, then you are at fault and you cannot shift the blame onto anybody else, but I know that what I did in terms of the 2006 World Cup was absolutely clean.''

The independent report, which cost the DFB around one million euros, found that some of the evidence Niersbach should have had in his possession was not actually available. It has been alleged that he had told his secretary to destroy it, but he refutes that claim.

"I never ordered for any files to be fetched from the archives, or made them disappear,'' he said. "This allegation is the hardest one for me to deal with. I've been in the sports world for 43 years, 27 of them at the DFB, and I think that I have earned a serious and honest reputation in this time.

"It hurts a terrible amount that people are doubting my reputation.''

That is why he says he has no intention of giving up his position on the executive committees of UEFA and FIFA.

"The Freshfields report will be discussed by FIFA's ethics committee and they will decide if it says I acted incorrectly or not,'' he said. "I don't think so and I have every faith in the ethics committee's actions.''

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