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FIFA Opens Probe Into Germany's 2006 World Cup Bid

  • Amanda Scott

FILE - In this July 9, 2006, photo, Italian soccer fans celebrate after Italy beat France 5-3 in a penalty kick shootout to win the final of the soccer World Cup between Italy and France in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany.

FILE - In this July 9, 2006, photo, Italian soccer fans celebrate after Italy beat France 5-3 in a penalty kick shootout to win the final of the soccer World Cup between Italy and France in the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, Germany.

FIFA's ethics committee has opened a bribery investigation into six people involved in the bidding process that awarded the 2006 World Cup to Germany.

Among those targeted are former German Football Association (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach and former DFB vice-president Franz Beckenbauer.

In a statement, the ethics committee says Niersbach and former DFB secretary-general Helmut Sandrock are being investigated for "failing to report a breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics."

Investigating German executives

FILE - Former president of the German Soccer Federation DFB, Wolfgang Niersbach, waits for the beginning of a UEFA meeting in Zurich, Switzerland on Feb. 25, 2016.

FILE - Former president of the German Soccer Federation DFB, Wolfgang Niersbach, waits for the beginning of a UEFA meeting in Zurich, Switzerland on Feb. 25, 2016.

It says Beckenbauer is being investigated along with three former DFB executives — Theo Zwanziger, Horst Schmidt, and Stefan Hans — in a case centering around "possible undue payments and contracts to gain an advantage in the 2006 FIFA World Cup host selection and the associated funding."

FIFA says its decision to open the investigation follows the release of a report commissioned by the German Football Association.

Last week, FIFA admitted that its executive members sold World Cup votes as part of its claim to recover millions of dollars in bribe money seized by U.S. officials.

Selling World Cup votes

FILE - German legend former soccer player and coach Franz Beckenbauer attends a television show on May 17, 2014.

FILE - German legend former soccer player and coach Franz Beckenbauer attends a television show on May 17, 2014.

​The claim said executive committee members and their co-conspirators "corrupted the negotiations for 15 different sets of FIFA World Cup qualifiers."

The United States has charged 42 sports officials and associates of FIFA on wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering charges. The defendants include former heads of national and continental governing bodies.

In a separate action, Swiss authorities have also launched a criminal inquiry into FIFA’s controversial awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

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