Blatter and Beckenbauer agree «silence» over World Cup affair

Blatter and Beckenbauer agree «silence» over World Cup affair
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Published April 22nd, 2016 - 17:47 GMT via SyndiGate.info

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Franz Beckenbauer
Franz Beckenbauer

Former FIFA president Joseph Blatter and Franz Beckenbauer have agreed not to communicate in the affair over the awarding of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Blatter has told dpa in an interview.

Blatter, now banned from football for six years, said he and the German football great "have agreed not to communicate so that they cannot play us off against one other." We have "silence," he added.

Blatter again denied a claim by Beckenbauer, former head of Germany's 2006 World Cup organizing committee, that FIFA had asked for a down payment in order to secure a grant for the World Cup from football's governing body.

Beckenbauer had said he agreed in a meeting with Blatter to make a payment to FIFA in 2002 in return for funding for the 2006 World Cup, but Blatter said: "I certainly don't remember that."

Blatter's was speaking to dpa in Zurich where he Wednesday presented the biography Sepp Blatter: Mission and Passion Football, by Thomas Renggli.

The FIFA ethics committee has begun an investigation against Beckenbauer and five other former German football federation (DFB) officials in connection with the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany.

It follows a report by law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer published on March 4 on its investigations into the World Cup payment affair at the behest of the DFB.

The report said it found no evidence of vote-buying when Germany was awarded the tournament in 2000, 12-11 over South Africa in a vote by the FIFA executive committee.

But it revealed unclear payments, including from an account held by Beckenbauer.

Blatter has appealed to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland against his football ban, and said he would also go through the civil courts.

"The first path is the (Swiss) federal court. I will take it to the end," he said.

Blatter, 80, was elected for a fifth four-year term as FIFA president on May 29 last year but amid corruption investigations said a few days later he would step down. He was succeeded by former UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino in February.

Swiss criminal proceedings were opened against Blatter in September on suspicion of "criminal mismanagement and - alternatively - misappropriation."

He was initially suspended by FIFA's ethics committee and in December banned for eight years over ethics breaches concerning a "disloyal payment" of 2 million Swiss francs (about 2 million dollars) made to UEFA president Michel Platini in 2011. The ban was reduced to six years in February.

Platini is also banned for six years and has taken his case to CAS. A ruling is expected on April 29, with a ruling on Blatter's case expected early next month.

Blatter, who on Wednesday said he was "no longer suffering" as a result of the ban, told dpa: "I forgive, but I don't forget."

Blatter, who was FIFA general secretary from 1981 until being elected president in June 1998, added: "My mission in football directly is over because I am no longer directly involved.

"But the mission in football is never over because it always continues.

"I am now the number 9, I am in the ninth decade of my life and am playing again on the pitch. I can't manage 110 metres any more but over 20 or 30 metres it's still very good.

"At the moment FIFA have a number of legal investigations underway, one against me."

Blatter has accepted an invitation from Russian President Vladimir Putin to attend the 2018 World Cup in Russia as a guest of honour.

Asked whether he would also attend Euro 2016 in France starting on June 10, Blatter said: "At the moment I haven't had an invitation. If I receive one and am no longer suspended I will of course go to the European Championship."

© 2016 dpa GmbH

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