German World Cup graft claims close to home for Adidas
Allegations that Germany bribed its way to secure the right to host the 2006 World Cup not only shook the football world, but also shone a spotlight on cosy ties between sportswear giant Adidas and FIFA.
At the heart of the latest graft claims to rock world football is a 10.3 million Swiss francs payment made in 2000 by Adidas's former boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus to the German Football Federation (DFB).
News weekly Der Spiegel claimed in a report late last week that DFB borrowed the sum in order to buy the votes of four Asian members of FIFA's 24-strong executive committee.
The magazine claimed the DFB subsequently transferred 6.7 million euros — the equivalent of the borrowed Swiss francs at the time — to a FIFA account in 2005 to repay Louis-Dreyfus. The DFB has denied the claims, while Adidas has sought to distance itself from the case.
“We are not aware of such a payment by Robert Louis-Dreyfus,” said the brand with the three-stripes logo.
"We can rule out that it was a business operation of Adidas AG." In other words, Louis-Dreyfus could have used his own money, and not company funds, an Adidas spokesman said.