Theo Zwanziger wins libel case after calling Qatar 'cancer on world football'

Former DFB president Theo Zwanziger has won the libel case brought against him by Qatar and its Football Association following a hearing at a Dusseldorf regional court.

Zwanziger, 70, has been critical of the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to the Gulf state, and has repeatedly said that Qatar was "a cancer on world football."

The Gulf state described Zwanziger's words as "unacceptable" and sued him for libel in June 2015.

The civil case between Zwanziger -- a former member of the FIFA executive committee -- and Qatar was heard before the court in February before the judgement was passed on Tuesday, when the case was dismissed on the grounds that the statement was covered by freedom of expression.

Last year, Zwanziger's lawyer Hans-Jorg Metz made a motion for dismissal, and argued that the former DFB president -- also involved in the 2006 World Cup scandal in Germany -- never singled out one person or a group of individuals when saying "a cancer on world football."

In the motion for dismissal, Metz also cited Pope Francis, who had called consumerism "a cancer on society" in June 2015.

In September 2015, it was reported that Zwanziger called upon Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and Wolfgang Niersbach as witnesses.

At that time, all three were still presidents of their respective associations -- FIFA, UEFA and DFB -- but have since been either suspended or forced out of office because of ongoing scandals in world football.