Adidas boss Herbert Hainer says he “can’t believe” the 2006 World Cup was bought and is “convinced” senior figures in German football can answer the tax evasion charges they face.

“Frankly, I have to say I cannot believe it,” said Adidas CEO Hainer, whose company is one of the main sponsors of the German Football Association (DFB).

“It is definitely not good for football, for the fans and for anyone who loves sport, but I am convinced that the DFB, together with external help, will be able to clear up the matter and put the facts on the table.

“Why did the DFB borrow money? Where did the money go? What was done with it? That’s what I think we all — football fans, the sponsors and the public — expect to now know.”

German football has been plunged into crisis since magazine Spiegel alleged in mid-October that the DFB made a 6.7 million-euro ($7.4m) payment to FIFA to buy the votes of four executive committee members to secure the right to host the 2006 World Cup.

German authorities swooped on the DFB headquarters in Frankfurt on Tuesday and announced the current DFB president, a former president and former general secretary were accused of tax evasion. 

The three are understood to be current DFB chief Wolfgang Niersbach, his predecessor Theo Zwanziger and ex-general secretary Horst Schmidt.

Their homes were also raided.

Prosecutors have stressed the DFB is not being investigated, but they have launched a tax probe against the three.

State prosecutors have said they could not pursue accusations of direct corruption because the statute of limitations on graft had expired. – Agence France-Presse

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