On Friday, yet more news broke about FIFA and illegal payments for World Cup votes. This latest story involved the purchase of four crucial votes ahead of the 2006 World Cup which was awarded to Germany, and former New York Cosmos star Franz Beckenbauer appears to have been at least aware of the situation, if not actively involved.
The full report is worth a read, but here's the portion pertaining to the former NASl player:
Acting in a private capacity, Louis-Dreyfus -- who was, at the time, chairman of Adidas, the sporting apparel and supplies company that equips the German national team -- lent the money to the German bidding committee prior to the decision to award the World Cup to Germany on July 6, 2000. The loan never appeared in the bidding committee's budget or later, once the tournament had been awarded to Germany, in that of the Organizing Committee (OK).
A year and a half prior to the World Cup, Louis-Dreyfus called in the loan, which by then had a value of €6.7 million. Officials at OK, of which Beckenbauer had become president and Niersbach vice president, began looking for a way in 2005 to pay back the illicit funds in an inconspicuous manner.
Internal documents show that a cover was created with the help of global football organizing body FIFA to facilitate the payment. Using the cover, the Germans made a €6.7 million contribution for a gala FIFA Opening Ceremony that had been planned at Berlin's Olympic Stadium but was later cancelled. The money had been paid into a FIFA bank account in Geneva. From there, FIFA allegedly promptly transferred the money to a Zurich account belonging to Louis-Dreyfus.
As a youngster, Beckenbauer was probably my favorite Cosmos player, so reports such as these are particularly hard to stomach. Over the past few years, however, it's become pretty clear that many of Beckenbauer's business dealings following the end of his playing career are questionable, at best. Maybe it's for the best that the club haven't used him to promote in the same way they've used Pele.