March 17 – Franz Beckenbauer, under increasing scrutiny over the mysterious SFr10 million payment made during Germany’s 2006 World Cup bid campaign which he led, has asked to be released from his contract as an expert analyst and commentator for Sky Deutchland’s football coverage.
Beckenbauer’s appearance as a Sky expert as part of the broadcaster’s live coverage of Wednesday’s Champions League game between FC Bayern Munich and Juventus was his last indefinitely, the network announced.
Sky quoted Beckenbauer as saying he wanted a break but a recent internal inquiry into bribery allegations surrounding Germany’s successful bid for the 2006 tournament has raised uncomfortable questions for the 70-year-old icon even though he has denied any wrongdoing or vote-buying.
Beckenbauer who extended his contract with Sky for several years in 2012, has sought to distance himself from the controversial payment which ended up in an account controlled by Qatar’s banned former FIFA powerbroker Mohammed bin Hammam.
Pressure is growing on Germany’s most iconic footballing figurehead and organiser of the 2006 tournament after a 380-page German FA (DFB)-commissioned report showed that the sum was paid in 2002 to a firm whose sole owner at the time was Bin Hammam, former president of the Asian Football Confederation.
The report by the law firm Freshfield said there was no proof votes were bought but couldn’t rule it out since evidence may have been mislaid or destroyed.
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