German FA president resigns for violations in 2006 World Cup

Berlin, Nov 10 (IANS) The president of the German Football Association Wolfgang Niersbach has resigned following a scandal over a series of irregularities related to the 2006 World Cup hosted by his country.

Niersbach announced his resignation on Monday following a meeting of the association’s board, noting that he takes “political responsibility”, reports Efe.

“I have recognised the time has come to take the political responsibility for events around the 2006 World Cup,” Niersbach told reporters following the board meeting.

The scandal emerged after a story by the magazine “Der Spiegel” about alleged bribes paid for hosting the 2006 World Cup, but what ultimately led to the resignation of Niersbach were investigations about tax evasion that stemmed from the above story.

The prosecutor has opened investigations against Niersbach, his predecessor Theo Zwanziger and the the governing body’s former general secretary Horst R. Schmidt, on suspicion of tax evasion, and both the headquarters of the federation as well as their private homes have been searched.

Niersbach started his career as chief press officer of the federation, later he worked as the vice president of the organising committee of the 2006 World Cup and then he returned to the federation as general secretary before becoming president.

The core of the scandal is 6.7 million euros ($7.2 million) paid to FIFA and declared as a contribution to the cultural program related to the 2006 World Cup.

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