Soccer German FA says investigating payment to FIFA

"With the ongoing investigation in relation to FIFA and because of more speculation in the media, the German Football Association looked internally at the awarding of the 2006 World Cup," it said in a statement.

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The logo of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany is presented for the first time in the "Schalke Arena" in Gelsenkirchen in a photo. play The logo of the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany is presented for the first time in the "Schalke Arena" in Gelsenkirchen in a photo. (Reuters)
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The German Football Association (DFB) said on Friday it was investigating a 6.7-million-euro ($7.61-million) payment from the 2006 World Cup organising committee to FIFA that may not have been used as intended.

But the DFB said it had found no indication of wrongdoing in the process of winning the right to host the 2006 World Cup.

The organisation said it was looking into how the payment from the German organising committee in 2005 to world soccer's governing body for its cultural programme was used.

"With the ongoing investigation in relation to FIFA and because of more speculation in the media, the German Football Association looked internally at the awarding of the 2006 World Cup," it said in a statement.

"Within the framework of these investigations, the DFB found no indication of irregularities while there was equally no indication whatsoever that votes of delegates were bought."

The DFB said it had been informed of the 2005 payment to FIFA by the German organisers of the 2006 World Cup and was looking into whether it was used for FIFA's cultural programme as intended. The investigation had not yet been concluded, the DFB said.

"At the same time as the investigation, the DFB became aware that in April 2005 a payment of 6.7 million euros was made by the organising committee of the 2006 World Cup to FIFA," the DFB said.

"This may potentially not have been used for the intended purpose," it said, adding it was looking at all legal aspects of the case and the potential for a possible demand for the return of the money.

FIFA has been engulfed in the biggest crisis of its 111-year history since May when 14 soccer officials and sports marketing executives were indicted in the United States on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involving more than $150 million in payments.

Following the arrests, Swiss authorities began their own investigation and last month opened criminal proceedings against outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter for criminal mismanagement.

He was then banned for 90 days by FIFA's own ethics committee along with Michel Platini, the head of European soccer's governing body and the favourite to succeed Blatter in next year's presidential election.

In July 2000, Germany edged favourites South Africa, who would go on to host the 2010 World Cup, by 12 votes to 11 to win hosting rights for the 2006 tournament.

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