German FA president: 'Nothing to reproach' in 2006 World Cup award

German Football Federation president Wolfgang Niersbach has denied there were any irregularities in the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to his country.

In the aftermath of a week that has seen FIFA officials arrested in an escalating corruption scandal, questions have been raised about the awards of the 2010 World Cup to South Africa and the 1998 tournament to France.

Some media outlets in Germany have begun looking at the buildup to the "summer fairytale" tournament in which Jurgen Klinsmann's team reached the semifinals.

But Niersbach, who was vice-president of the 2006 organising committee, told ZDF TV: "We have absolutely nothing to reproach ourselves for. Let me remind you that we did absolutely the best job.

"There was a 12 to 11 vote. We know that the eight Europeans voted for us, and we can only guess where the other four votes came from. We impressed them with our application."

Germany won the 2006 World Cup from South Africa by a knife-edge margin, with one member of the FIFA executive committee abstaining from the final vote.

The late Charles Dempsey, then the Oceania Football Confederation chief, abstained after backing South Africa in the first two voting rounds.

He alleged attempts to bribe him and cited "intolerable pressure," authors Heidi Blake and Jonathan Calvert said in their book The Ugly Game.

Dempsey's absence meant FIFA president Sepp Blatter did not have to use the casting vote he would have had in the event of a 12-12 tie -- a vote that, it is believed, would have gone to South Africa.

Die Zeit alleged this week that, eight days ahead of the vote, the German government had sent a shipment of rocket-propelled grenades to Saudi Arabia in order to secure their support for the 2006 bid.

The paper added that German companies Volkswagen and Bayer had promised big investment in Thailand and South Korea -- places in which FIFA executive members lived -- while Daimler invested €100 million in South Korean motor company Hyundai.

"A son of the Hyundai founder sat on the FIFA executive committee," the report said.

Suddeutsche Zeitung and Manager Magazin reported that, in 2003, Bayern Munich had agreed friendlies in Malta, Thailand, Tunisia and Trinidad.

The reports said lucrative TV rights deals with a company owned by German media mogul Leo Kirch agreed with FIFA executive members Joseph Mifsud, Worawi Makudi and Jack Warner -- one of the central figures in the FIFA scandal.

Franz Beckenbauer, who was the chief of the 2006 World Cup organising committee as well as the Bayern Munich president, responded: "Whoever thinks that you can get a World Cup through friendlies has no clue."

Die Zeit's report concluded that events "did not match what you understand by sporting spirit."

It said: "All of it has been known for over 10 years, but the German public prefers to recall the summer fairytale. Corruption is deemed to be a problem of others."

Also on Friday, Niersbach, says a new FIFA president needs to be elected sooner rather than later following Blatter's resignation.

"For me it's incredible the way it happened," he said. "You invite the whole world to a congress, you get re-elected and then four days later you resign, for whatever reason, but it's not an immediate resignation,'' Niersbach told German TV station ZDF.

FIFA said four months are needed to set up the extraordinary congress to elect the new president but Niersbach said "everything needs to go much faster."

Lennart Johansson, who lost to Sepp Blatter in 1998 FIFA presidential election, also said the 79-year-old Swiss official should not delay his departure.

"He must go immediately,'' Johansson said on Friday. "People want us to be clean. You are seeing when he turned up at any match they were booing him. They really showed they were not satisfied.

"I think the investigation going on has told him that they will find out exactly what was done and by whom,'" said Johansson, a former UEFA president.