Berlin (AFP) – Wolfgang Niersbach, the former president of the German Football Association (DFB), said on Wednesday that he will appeal the one-year ban imposed on him by FIFA’s ethics committee.
The 65-year-old was banned on Monday over misconduct surrounding Germany’s successful 2006 World Cup bid.
Niersbach resigned from the German FA last November amid accusations the DFB used a slush fund of 10 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros, $8 million, according to the exchange rate at that time) in 2000 to buy the right to host the tournament.
Niersbach confirmed reports to SID, an AFP subsidiary, that he wants “to lodge an appeal after consultation with my lawyer” and wants to “get written reasons for the judgment if nothing else”.
FIFA’s ethics committee found Niersbach guilty of failing to report findings about possible unethical conduct and conflicts of interest during the bidding process.
In 2006, the former sports journalist was the vice-president of the 2006 World Cup organising committee and was in charge of media and marketing.
Niersbach says he has “acknowledged and regretted” his mistakes, but described the punishment as “inappropriate and excessive”.
He had hoped to have his name cleared before the hearing in Zurich, although investigators had wanted a two-year ban.
Niersbach had insisted that quitting his job should have been punishment enough because he was not directly accused of paying bribes or financially benefitting from corruption.
The ethics committee suspension has forced his immediate removal from posts he currently holds on the FIFA Council and UEFA executive committee.
FIFA opened a probe on March 22 targeting six people including Niersbach and Franz Beckenbauer, the German football legend and World Cup organising committee chief, over their roles in the bidding process, amid allegations of bribery.
The FIFA investigation followed the release of a report commissioned by the DFB which found that Germany may have bought votes to secure the tournament.
The report linked Beckenbauer to a suspect deal with disgraced former FIFA bigwig Jack Warner.
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