Dutch and Belgians seek legal advice on whether to sue FIFA
‘Restoring German football will take time’
AMSTERDAM, Nov 11, (Agencies): Netherlands and Belgium have sought legal advice over whether to seek compensation for the cost of their abortive World Cup bid after discovering the choice of Russia for the 2018 finals was pre-planned.
The Dutch and Belgian FAs announced on Tuesday they have contacted a legal firm after suspended FIFA president Sepp Blatter said two weeks ago that soccer’s world governing body agreed Russia would be hosts long before the completion of the bidding process.
Blatter made the disclosure in an interview with Russian reporters, sparking uproar from the joint Belgian-Dutch bid and from England who also bid for the right to host the finals.
“An interview is not enough to take steps but we are preparing ourselves for the outcome of a continuing investigation,” said a Dutch FA spokesman.
Francois de Keersmaecker, president of the Belgian FA, added: “In agreement with our Dutch colleagues we have asked a legal firm to see if we can claim for compensation.
“It was unethical to allow us to incur unnecessary costs while the outcome of the bidding process had already been determined.
“On the basis of the advice we get, we’ll decide what steps to take next.”
The joint bid, which cost the Dutch and Belgians 10 million euros ($10.70 million), went up against another joint bid from Portugal and Spain as well as individual bids from England and Russia in the vote to decide the hosts of the 2018 World Cup.
England were eliminated after the first round of voting and the DutchBelgian bid finished third in the second round, where Russia received the necessary majority to be declared winners.
The English FA are also seeking legal advice and have sent FIFA questions about the 2018 bid process.
Lifting German football out of its current malaise will require plenty of patience and the support of both professional and amateur players alike, Germany’s joint interim FA chief Reinhard Rauball said on Wednesday.
Rauball and Rainer Koch have been tasked with leading the world’s largest national football association after their predecessor Wolfgang Niersbach resigned on Monday over a World Cup 2006 scandal involving a multi-million dollar payment to soccer’s governing body FIFA a year ahead of the finals.
“The DFB is currently going through a highly problematic situation. So for the good of our sport, together we need to get to work, the Bundesliga as well as the amateurs,” he told Bild newspaper.
“This will take much more time than is expected,” said Rauball, who also heads the German Football League (DFL) that runs the top two divisions.
Last month, Der Spiegel magazine alleged that a 6.7 million euro ($7.20 million) transfer to soccer’s governing body was a return on a loan from then Adidas CEO Robert LouisDreyfus to buy votes at a FIFA election in 2000 in favour of Germany’s 2006 World Cup bid.
Niersbach, a vice president of the 2006 organising committee at the time, is under investigation for tax evasion in relation to the payment but has denied the claims of a slush fund, accepting only “political responsibility” but insisting he had done nothing wrong.
He said last month, however, he did not know why the payment to FIFA was made in 2005 and had ordered an internal investigation.
World Cup wining player and coach Franz Beckenbauer, who led the 2006 World Cup organising committee, has also rejected the allegations of a votes-for-cash deal but suspicion has grown with the DFB saying a contract between him and former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, banned from football for life since September, was signed four days before the FIFA vote in 2000.
Former FIFA Vice-President Eugenio Figueredo has agreed to be extradited to his native Uruguay to face corruption charges but the United States, also pursuing him, can challenge the move, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice said on Wednesday.
If the United States does not agree that Figueredo, a former vice-president of the South American Football Confederation CONMEBOL, be extradited to Uruguay, the Swiss Federal Office of Justice said it would decide where he will be sent.
Switzerland had approved Figueredo’s extradition to the United States in September. He is accused of having taken bribes worth millions of dollars in connection with the award of soccer broadcast rights.