The 2006 World Cup is remembered fondly as a “summer fairy tale” in host country Germany because of the unusually hot weather, party atmosphere and strong performance of its national team, which finished third in the tournament.
But a decade later, the scales are falling from the eyes of many fans amid revelations that the nation’s soccer federation paid and covered up bribes to win the right to host the games, in what is turning out to be a big corruption scandal.
On Thursday, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper in Munich and two state-run broadcasters – NDR and WDR – reported that members of the DFB German Football Association systematically tried to cover up a €6.7 million ($7.2 million) in payments to African voting members to win the right to host the 2006 games.
The news organizations cited a confidential report prepared by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, a London law firm hired by DFB to investigate the scandal. The report, according to the news organizations, cites information that increasingly suggests German soccer officials engaged in a votes-for-cash deal to win the prestigious tournament.
According to an advance copy of the internal report, German bribes helped the country secure the 2006 games, and may have also helped South Africa win the right to host the games four years later.