Football: Beckenbauer 'not offered World Cup bribes'

LONDON (AFP) - Former Fifa member Franz Beckenbauer declared on Tuesday that his vote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids would remain "secret", but said he was not offered any bribes.

Beckenbauer was on the Fifa executive committee that awarded the rights to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively in 2010.

The bidding process has been dogged by accusations of corruption and horse-trading, but Beckenbauer refused to reveal how he had voted, telling the Securing Sport conference in London: "That's my secret." When asked whether he had been offered any financial inducements to vote in a particular way, the former West Germany captain and coach responded: "That's a clear 'no'.

"How shall I say this? Nobody approached me directly, nobody offered me anything in order to influence my vote. No, this did not happen." He added: "It was a secret ballot and I have to observe this agreement made at the time. I was surprised, too, that Qatar was chosen. That was my first reaction. The bid was very good by Qatar, like all the others."

Beckenbauer also added his voice to calls for Fifa, world football's governing body, to release the findings of a report into the bidding process.

Fifa president Sepp Blatter says the report into corruption allegations by American attorney Michael Garcia will be kept confidential to honour promises made to witnesses, but Beckenbauer believes it should be made public.

"I don't see any reason why it shouldn't be published," he said. "That's a decision for Fifa, but personally there is nothing to hide and if you have nothing to hide then you can publish and divulge it.

"A lot of things have happened over the past few years, all the scandals and corruptions and suspected sleaze. These are accusations. There is no evidence to my knowledge."

Beckenbauer, 69, was temporarily suspended in June for failing to comply with Garcia's questions before then agreeing to do so.

Several high-profile figures have also called for the 350-page report to be published, including Uefa president Michel Platini, Fifa vice-president Prince Ali Al Hussein, and Garcia himself.