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Beckenbauer says Germany ‘went to the limit’ with World Cup bid

Photo credit: AFP.

Photo credit: AFP.

German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer has admitted the bidding committee he chaired for the 2006 World Cup “went to the limits” to obtain the finals.

In his first televised interview since magazine Der Spiegel made cash-for-votes allegations in mid-October, Beckenbauer responded: “What are the limits?” when asked if lines had been crossed.

“There was no ethics commission, we could contact members of the (FIFA) executive committee directly. We always went to the limit. It was another time,” Beckenbauer told Sky.

MORE FIFA: Cases against Blatter, Platini to be decided in December.

At the center of the scandal is a 6.7 million euros ($7.2 million) payment, which is alleged to have been used to purchase the votes of four members of FIFA’s executive committee in 2000 – days before Germany narrowly won the right to host the 2006 finals. However, Beckenbauer has insisted the money was intended “only to obtain a 250 million euro grant” from world soccer’s governing body.

On Tuesday, the 70-year-old was due to speak to the law firm tasked by the German Football Association (DFB) with auditing the 2006 bid. World football’s governing body FIFA are also investigating.

Beckenbauer has been at the center of the scandal since the DFB admitted the existence of a draft agreement, signed by him, which offered a lucrative friendly against Germany, but no cash. It was made with disgraced former CONCACAF president Jack Warner — who is banned for life by FIFA — but it remains unclear whether it was ever used.

The German insists there is “no Warner/Beckenbauer document, but an agreement between the DFB and the CONCACAF.” But Beckenbauer admits the date of the agreement — five days before Germany was awarded the World Cup in 2000 — is an issue.

“The only thing that bothers me is the date of July 2. We could think that it’s linked to the corruption,” he conceded, while adding: “If there was a slush fund or attempted corruption, I would have said something about it.”

He repeated comments he made to Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper last week when he admitted signing numerous documents linked to the 2006 World Cup bid without first reading them.

“When I have confidence in someone, I sign, without reading,” he said.

“I have a clear conscience.”

More FIFA corruption news:

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