Franz Beckenbauer has dismissed suggestions by Sepp Blatter that there could have been irregularity in the decision to award Germany the 2006 World Cup.
In an interview with the Swiss newspaper SonntagsBlick over the weekend, the FIFA president said: "Bought World Cups... I remember the award of the World Cup for 2006 when, at the last minute, someone left the room and so instead of the voting being split 10-10 it was 10-9 in favour of Germany.
"I'm glad I didn't have to make a casting vote but, well, that person suddenly got up and left. Maybe I was too good natured and naive."
Asked whether there was a suspicion that the 2006 World Cup had been bought, he added: "No, I'm not suggesting anything. It's just something that I noticed. I don't presume anything: I am stating facts."
Blatter had voiced a preference for South Africa as the 2006 hosts. Germany eventually won the right to host the tournament by 12 votes to 11, with the New Zealand representative of the Oceania confederation abstaining from the vote.
His remarks brought an angry response from Beckenbauer, who was the head of the organising committee for a tournament that was widely hailed as a success for Germany.
"I cannot understand the remarks and suggestions of Sepp Blatter," he told Bild. "He has even got the result wrong – it was 12-11, not 10-9.
"And what was decisive was that the eight Europeans all united behind us and voted for us."
Over the weekend, Dr Reinhard Rauball, the president of the German football league, called on Blatter to step down over the ISL bribery scandal - but Blatter ruled that possibility out.
"It is nothing new that people want rid of me," he said. "Sometimes it is the British media, then the American and then the German.
"The truth is, Rauball called me last Friday and told me that I should resign. I told him that it is not as easy as he imagines.
"The fact is, I have been elected by the Congress. No club will decide whether and when I leave."
He has also suggested he may run again for the FIFA presidency in 2015. "I would not exclude the possibility. Let's see how my health is," he said.