England Stun New Zealand In Classic To Reach World Cup Final

New Zealand’s wing Sevu Reece (L) and England’s full back Elliot Daly reach for the ball during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup semi-final match between England and New Zealand at the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama on October 26, 2019. CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP

 

Fly-half George Ford led the way as England ended New Zealand’s eight-year reign as champions with a superb 19-7 World Cup semi-final win in Yokohama on Saturday.

Ford, restored at 10 by coach Eddie Jones, took over goal-kicking duties after England captain Owen Farrell took a knock but he landed four penalty attempts after Manu Tuilagi stunned the All Blacks with an early try.

This was just England’s eighth win in 42 Tests against New Zealand and meant the All Blacks had lost their first World Cup match since a shock 2007 quarter-final defeat by France.

England’s first World Cup win over the two-time defending champions puts them into their fourth final — just four years after their embarrassing first-round exit on home soil.

“Our best form of attack is our defence. We create opportunities through our defence to attack,” said England coach Eddie Jones, who has masterminded the turnaround.

“I’d like to pay the greatest compliment to New Zealand. They’ve won two World Cups in a row. They’ve been a really great team and and we had to dig really deep to beat them.”

England, world champions in 2003 when they beat an Australia side coached by Jones in the final, will now face the winners of Sunday’s match between South Africa and Wales in next week’s showpiece clash.

Their victory ended the tenure of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen, who is stepping down after overseeing a sensational run when they lost only 10 of 106 Tests.

 ‘Take that on the chin’ 

“I’m really proud of our team. They’ve done a tremendous job for their country and tonight we just weren’t good enough,” said Hansen.

“So we have to take that on the chin and so does everybody back home and our fans.”

England led 10-0 at the break thanks to Tuilagi’s converted try and the first of Ford’s penalties after a superb forward effort led by locks Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje saw them dominate territory and possession.

Another Ford penalty early in the second half made it 13-0 but the All Blacks eventually broke a defence coached by former New Zealand boss John Mitchell in the 57th minute, when Ardie Savea crashed over for a converted try.

But Sam Underhill’s tackle on the recalled Scott Barrett led to a simple penalty in front of the posts that Ford duly kicked.

Jones had recalled Ford at fly-half following the 40-16 quarter-final win over Australia, moving Farrell to inside centre.

Before kick-off England, unusually, lined up in an inverted ‘V’ formation, crossing the half-way line as the All Blacks performed their traditional pre-match haka.

And there were fewer than two minutes on the clock when England scored a brilliant team try.

Fullback Elliot Daly made a fine break down the right that was carried on by wing Anthony Watson before the ball was worked across field, with hooker Jamie George charging forward.

 Disallowed tries 

Ford then found prop Kyle Sinckler and he in turn released Lawes, who took the ball to the All Blacks’ line.

From the ensuing ruck, powerhouse centre Tuilagi — one of England’s try-scorers when they last beat the All Blacks seven years ago — forced his way between guard props Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala for a fine try.

Farrell converted and England led 7-0.

They almost had a second try minutes later when Tuilagi intercepted and found Farrell who passed to Jonny May.

But great corner-flagging by recalled flanker Scott Barrett stopped the wing in his tracks.

England made several more early visits to New Zealand’s 22 only for their own errors to cost them the chance of further points.

Underhill, who had a try against New Zealand last year controversially disallowed, went over in the 25th minute but referee Nigel Owens correctly ruled out the score for crossing by fellow flanker Tom Curry in the build-up.

Ford’s drop goal attempt sailed well wide of the right post but he made no mistake with a 45-metre penalty after a limping Farrell was unable to take the shot.

England thought they had their second try when, following a drive off an attacking line-out, scrum-half Ben Youngs went over after selling centre Anton Lienert-Brown a dummy.

But Owens ruled it out for a knock-on in the maul.

Another Ford penalty extended the lead but George’s overthrown line-out near England’s line was collected by Savea, with fly-half Richie Mo’unga converting.

That, however, was as close as New Zealand got as two more Ford penalties created an unbridgeable gap for the defending champions.

AFP

Golden Eaglets Land In Gioania, Set For World Cup Action

Photo: Twitter – @thenff

 

The Golden Eaglets of Nigeria have landed in the city of Gioania, Brazil, where the team will tackle Hungary at the Estadio Olimpico in Saturday’s opening match of Group B at the 2019 FIFA U17 World Cup.

Players and the officials were received by FIFA and local organizing committee officials at the airport, before heading to their hotel at the Metropolis area of the city.

The Eaglets have been in Brazil since October 10, precisely in the city of Sao Paulo, where they had their training camp and played three warm up games against Sao Paulo U 17 side, which they lost 1-2, before defeating South Korea 4-2 and then losing by the odd goal to Japan.

 Nigeria, champions in 1985, 1993, 2007, 2013 and 2015 will tussle with Hungary, Australia and Ecuador in Group B of the competition that has 24 countries competing for glory.

FIFA U17 WORLD CUP BRAZIL 2019 GROUPS

GROUP A: Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Angola

GROUP B: Nigeria, Hungary, Ecuador, Australia

GROUP C: Korea Republic, Haiti, France, Chile

GROUP D: USA, Senegal, Japan, Netherlands

GROUP E: Spain, Argentina, Tajikistan, Cameroon

GROUP F: Solomon Islands, Italy, Paraguay, Mexico

Aisha Buhari Unveils 2020 World Para Power-Lifting World Cup

Aisha Buhari Thanks Nigerians for Supporting Husband’s Administration

 

First Lady of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, has unveiled the athletes that will compete in the 2020 World Para-Powerlifting World Cup being hosted in Abuja, early next year.

She unveiled the athletes at an event which held at the State House on Wednesday, October 17, 2019, as well as the mascot and logo of the competition.

The First Lady, who was represented by the wife of the Vice President, Mrs. Dolapo Osinbajo, noted that hosting the 2020 championship will be an enormous task, with para-lifters coming from Europe, the Americas and Africa to converge in Abuja.

She, therefore, charged the organisers to put all hands on deck to ensure the success of the event.

A clothing line was also unveiled as a way to source revenue for retired athletes and the First Lady called for patronage, saying that it will help the athletes not to retire into poverty.

She vowed that “as an advocate for women, children and vulnerable groups, I will continue to champion their cause with all my strength.”

She also expressed gratitude to the Federation for naming the event after her and giving her the privilege of hosting the championships.

Meanwhile, President of the Nigeria Para Power Lifting Federation, Mrs Queen Uboh, in her address said the choice of the First Lady to host the event was deliberate, because of her commitment to the cause of the vulnerable Nigerians.

She said most of the team members are also female and will draw inspiration from her involvement.

She further stated that as a result of the respect which Nigeria has in the world of para-lifting, the nation has secured an approval to host the global event for the next three years.

Uboh, therefore, called on Nigerians to support the clothing line initiative which will usher in a new phase of life for retired athletes.

Qatar To Test New 2022 Stadium During Club World Cup

The official logo of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is unveiled on a giant screen in Madrid on September 3, 2019. GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP

 

Qatar will inaugurate the third of its eight World Cup stadiums when the Education City ground hosts the Club World Cup semi-final tie on December 18, FIFA said on Monday.

The 40,000-seat venue seven kilometres (four miles) outside central Doha will also host the third-place play-off and the final of the tournament which gets underway on December 11.

The inaugural game will see Liverpool, as European champions, face either CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey, Al Sadd of Qatar or minnows Hienghene Sport of New Caledonia who are Oceania champions.

The 2022 hosts have so far inaugurated the newly-built al-Janoub stadium in May, as well as the Khalifa International stadium which opened in 1976 and was relaunched in 2017 after a full refurbishment.

“With all three venues located a maximum of 12 kilometres from central Doha, the FIFA Club World Cup 2019 will provide a glimpse of Qatar’s compact nature ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022,” FIFA said in a statement.

“Taking place around the same time of the year and with matches kicking off from 17:00 local time (1400 GMT), this year’s tournament will also give teams and fans alike the chance to experience Qatar’s mild winter.”

Average temperatures are expected to range between 15 and 24 celsius (59 to 75 Fahrenheit), it added.

Hassan al-Thawadi, the secretary general of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, said following Al-Janoub’s opening in May that two further new stadiums would be ready “by the end of this year (or) first quarter” 2020.

The exact date would depend on the timing of events to launch the two venues, he added.

“By 2021 all our stadiums will be ready,” he said.

AFP

France’s Fofana Ruled Out Of Rugby World Cup

France’s Wesley Fofana, taking part in a training session in Marcoussis on the outskirts of Paris, on the eve of the Six Nations rugby union tournament match between France and Wales.  ALAIN JOCARD / AFP

Retiring France centre Wesley Fofana was ruled out of the rest of the Rugby World Cup on Saturday and replaced by uncapped Pierre-Louis Barassi, the French Rugby Union announced.

Fofana, 31, who announced earlier in the year he would end his international career after the tournament, has failed to recover from a thigh problem.

He missed Les Bleus’ tense 23-21 victory over Argentina on Saturday due to the injury as Gael Fickou and Virimi Vakatawa started their campaign opener.

The Clermont midfielder played the last of his 48 Tests in the victory over Italy in August where he picked up the issue.

Barassi, 21, who plays for Lyon, was part of France’s junior World Cup-winning side in 2018 along with fly-half Romain Ntamack and prop Demba Bamba.

Jacques Brunel’s side face the US next on October 2 before playing Tonga and England in Pool C with their hopes of making the quarter-finals high following the Pumas win.

AFP

France Survive Pumas Scare In Rugby World Cup Opener

Argentina’s centre Jeronimo de la Fuente (C) is tackled by France’s wing Yoann Huget (L) and France’s flanker Wenceslas Lauret during the Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between France and Argentina at the Tokyo Stadium in Tokyo on September 21, 2019. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

 

France produced some champagne rugby before almost losing the plot and had to survive a last-gasp penalty to pip Argentina 23-21 in their World Cup opener on Saturday.

Fly-half Romain Ntamack paced a schizophrenic French performance with 10 points as the three-time finalists hung on to win a pulsating Pool C clash in Tokyo and leave the Pumas staring into the abyss in the tournament’s so-called ‘group of death’.

Argentina, who will now likely need to beat England to avoid an early exit, almost pulled off an astonishing comeback after being sent into battle by an emotional rallying cry from football legend Diego Maradona.

Trailing by 17 points at half-time, they fell just short after a last-minute penalty from Emiliano Boffelli sailed just wide, allowing France to claim a crucial victory.

“I thought the game was finished, I thought we’d lost the game,” admitted France captain Guilhem Guirado, referring to the late penalty Australian referee Angus Gardner awarded to Argentina.

“But I am very, very proud of my boys. It was a tough game tonight but we are very happy to start the competition with a win.”

A cagey opening was punctuated by some bone-shuddering tackles from both sides, Argentine fly-half Nicolas Sanchez sent sprawling by prop Jefferson Poirot in a monster collision.

Lock Guido Petti was a one-man wrecking crew for the Pumas in the early skirmishes and his bulldozing run led to a 15th-minute penalty that Sanchez slotted over to put the 2015 semi-finalists on the board first.

But France hit back quickly through Gael Fickou, who showed great feet to beat two Argentina defenders and score after good work from fellow centre Virimi Vakatawa.

Their tails up, the French extended their advantage with another sumptuous try four minutes later when flying winger Damian Penaud caused panic in Argentina’s defence before flipping the ball to Antoine Dupont to crash over.

 Carnival atmosphere 

Ntamack added a pair of penalties that sent Les Bleus into half-time leading 20-3, book-ending a key passage of play where France’s giant front row stopped Argentina’s scrum on their own goal line.

A bruising game was played in a carnival atmosphere, with many travelling fans sporting colourful national garb, including a noisy group of French fans dressed as Gallic roosters.

But Argentina were all business and came out firing in the second half as Petti marked his 50th cap by trundling over from a driving lineout to reduce the deficit.

Another driving maul allowed Julian Montoya to dive before a Benjamin Urdapilleta penalty on the hour-mark made it a two-point game.

Urdapilleta stroked another three-pointer to give Argentina the lead with 12 minutes to play, completing a remarkable turnaround.

But Camille Lopez dragged France back in front moments later with a superb drop goal that just had the legs in his first involvement after coming on.

Ntamack missed a late penalty before Boffelli hooked his long-range effort just wide to allow France to escape after an ill-tempered affair which boiled over after the final whistle as fighting broke out between the two sets of players.

Argentina head coach Mario Ledesma accused Gardner of favouring France with his decisions.

“It’s a shame to be refereed like a small nation,” he fumed.

“But we didn’t do anything in the first half, defended badly, didn’t attack well — lost every ball into contact,” added Ledesma, who was left to rue fine margins.

“We created many opportunities, scored, missed two points, missed three points in the first half. It comes down to that.”

AFP

Japan Embrace Rugby World Cup Pressure

People walk past a banner promoting the upcoming Japan 2019 Rugby World Cup in Kobe on September 17, 2019.

 

Japan are learning to live with the pressure of being World Cup hosts as they prepare for their tournament curtain raiser against Russia this week, flanker Pieter Labuschagne said Tuesday.

The Brave Blossoms have gone into very few World Cup matches as favourites down the years, but are expected to beat a Russian team smashed 85-15 by Italy in a recent warm-up.

With the eyes of the world on them, Labuschagne promised Japan would rise to the occasion in Tokyo on Friday.

“We’ve been working a really long time towards the World Cup and it’s going to be a special event,” said the Pretoria-born Labuschagne.

“Whether we’re favourites I don’t think it makes any difference,” he added. “We set our goals out before the World Cup and we know exactly what’s expected and what we need to do.

“Pressure makes you feel alive and brings out the best in you — hopefully we can show that on Friday night.”

Scrum coach Shin Hasegawa also shrugged off any fears of Japan cracking under the strain this week.

“Everyone will be feeling the pressure,” he shrugged, admitting he was more concerned with staying in the good books of match referee Nigel Owens.

“It’s a World Cup: England, New Zealand, South Africa — they will all be feeling it. Obviously it’s how we react that counts.”

Once tournament pushovers, Japan famously stunned two-time champions South Africa in their opening fixture four years ago on England’s south coast before producing further victories over Samoa and the United States under Eddie Jones.

 ‘Physical battle’ 

Current coach Jamie Joseph has targeted a first-ever place in the quarter-finals, but to achieve that Japan will likely have to topple Scotland in Pool A, which also involves Samoa and Ireland, the world’s top-ranked team.

“We have an important first step this weekend,” said Labuschagne, refusing to look past a hulking Russian side who gave Japan a scare in a narrow 32-27 win last November.

“It’s going to be a physical battle against Russia. They’re a good team and it’s about absorbing their pressure and trying to apply some of our own.”

If Joseph, who will be without winger Kenki Fukuoka with a calf strain, has looked a little fraught since a thumping 41-7 defeat by the Springboks earlier this month, his players were displaying no such signs of stress.

“I just want to play the game,” growled Tongan-born lock Isileli Nakajima, flashing a gold-toothed smile.

“I don’t take Russia lightly — they’re as big as South Africa, so we will have to show them the same respect.”

Nakajima at least will be one of the most recognisable players at the World Cup, having raised a few eyebrows by bleaching his hair and beard blond.

“I like it, my friends tell me it looks good,” grinned the 30-year-old, who has been delighting Japan fans by following them back on social media.

“If someone follows me on Instagram I’ll follow them back — all it takes is a push of a button. It proves I’m not fake!”

AFP

FIBA World Cup: US Suffer Shock Defeat To France

The USA Basketball Men’s National Team huddles up during shoot around at the Dongguan Basketball Center on September 11, 2019 in Dongguan, China. AFP

 

France blew the Basketball World Cup wide open Wednesday by handing the United States their first loss in the competition in 13 years in their quarterfinal clash, powered by a double-double from big man Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.

The historic 89-79 win for France eliminates the Americans early from the competition in China, dashing their hopes of a third straight title.

The prospect of an American exit had looked increasingly possible after the USA sent a squad of second-tier stars and the loss is likely to prompt soul-searching in USA basketball.

Gobert, the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, had three blocks, including a key rejection down the stretch to help France seal the victory in the southern Chinese city of Dongguan.

The 7ft, 1in centre called the win “unbelievable”.

“I’ve been dreaming about this for a while. I was thinking we might never get the opportunity (to beat the USA) again and I told that to the guys,” Gobert said.

“It doesn’t mean much if you don’t win the gold, but it will go down as one of the biggest wins of my career and one of the biggest wins for French basketball for sure.”

In a hint of the sniping that may result in the United States over the debacle, shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, who lead the Americans with 29 points, hit back at critics of the team.

“You guys are going to go on and say who we didn’t have but why don’t you all focus on who we do have?” he told reporters.

“We have 12 guys that want to compete for America, just like every other country. It sucks that some of our country people don’t feel that way about us, but we don’t care. We wanted to compete and we did.”

France will play Argentina on Friday, who made it to the final four by defeating Serbia.

 Consolation match 

The USA loss sets up an enticing consolation match with Serbia on Thursday. Packed with NBA players, the two were tournament favourites and will be trying to salvage pride.

Wednesday’s contest was marked by big lead changes, and Mitchell’s jumpers and slashing moves to the basket helped the Americans cut down a 10-point French advantage in the third quarter to seize back the lead.

But Mitchell cooled in the fourth and the French came back, led by Gobert and sharp-shooting small forward Evan Fournier of the Orlando Magic, who led France in scoring with 22 points.

Fournier slashed to the hoop for a driving lay-up to give France the lead again at 78-76 with about three minutes remaining in the game.

With under a minute left and down by four, Mitchell squirted into the lane for a layup but Gobert smothered the shot by his Jazz teammate and the Americans were never able to get any closer.

The win raises the prospect of France adding a Basketball World Cup title to the football World Cup hardware they won in Russia last year.

They will first have to get past Argentina. In the other bracket, Spain will face the winner of Australia-Czech Republic, who tipped off later Wednesday.

The writing was on the wall for the United States which, lacking big names like LeBron James and Steph Curry, lost to Australia two weeks ago in an exhibition.

The loss in Melbourne was the first for the United States in 78 consecutive games in major competitions and exhibition games.

They also struggled to defeat Turkey in overtime earlier in the World Cup.

AFP

Nwora Releases D’tigers Final Roster For FIBA World Cup

Source: D’Tigers Twitter

 

D’tigers Coach, Alex Nwora has released the final roster of 12 players that will represent Nigeria at the FIBA basketball world cup in China.

The team is headlined by Captain Ike Diogu, Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard, Josh Okogie, Orlando Magic Forward, Al-Farouq Aminu and China-based Ekpe Udoh.

Others are; Jordan Nwora, Vincent Nnamdi, Chimezie Metu of the San Antonio Spurs, Ike Iroegbu, Michael Eric, Ben Uzoh, Zanna Talib And Stanley Okoye.

D’tigers are in Group B along with Russia, Argentina and South Korea for basketball’s biggest event.

They will begin their campaign against the Russians on August 31.

World Cup Winner Rami Signs For Fenerbahce

FILES) In this file photo taken on July 19, 2017 Olympique de Marseille’s new French defender Adil Rami holds a press conference, in Marseille, southeastern France. ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT / AFP

French defender Adil Rami, part of his country’s World Cup-winning squad last year, has signed for Fenerbahce following his sacking by Marseille, the Turkish club announced on Tuesday.

The 33-year-old has signed a one-year contract with the Istanbul outfit which includes the option of a second season, Fenerbahce said in a statement.

The move comes just two weeks after Rami was sacked by Marseille, reportedly for “gross misconduct” following a disciplinary procedure.

Sports daily L’Equipe, citing a letter sent by Marseille to Rami, said he had been sacked after he skipped training to take part in a TV reality show.

The former partner of Canadian actor Pamela Anderson, Rami joined Marseille from Spanish club Sevilla in 2017 and helped OM reach the Europa League final in his first season with the club.

Rami has won 36 caps for France although he had a non-playing part of the squad that won the World Cup in Russia

AFP

Court Backs Tax Evasion Case Against German FA Ex-bosses

Man Bags 15 Years In Prison For N5.2m Fraud

 

Four former top football officials face trial in Germany after a Frankfurt court ruled Monday they must answer tax evasion charges linked to the 2006 World Cup vote-buying scandal.

The court ruled that ex-German Football Association (DFB) presidents Wolfsgang Niersbach and Theo Zwanziger, as well as former general secretary Horst R. Schmidt, are accused of tax evasion, or aiding and abetting it, over a 6.7 million euros ($7.5 million) slush fund.

The Swiss Urs Linsi, former general-secretary of world football’s governing body FIFA, will also stand trial alongside the Germans with all four under “sufficient suspicion” of tax fraud, according to a court statement.

A shadow has been thrown over Germany’s successful hosting of the 2006 World Cup, often refered to as “Das Sommermaerchen” or Summer Fairytale, which became a nightmare for organisers after accusations emerged in 2015 of a vote-buying fund to secure the finals.

On Monday, the court validated an indictment against the quartet, who deny the charges. This paves the way for a trial, overturning a regional court’s decision last October to reject a tax evasion case.

Three weeks ago, Swiss prosecutors also brought tax fraud charges over the sum — a secret fund of 10 million Swiss francs, 6.7 million euros at the time — and the quartet face a separate trial in Switzerland.

German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, 73, who chaired the 2006 World Cup organising committee, could also face charges in Switzerland, but his case has been separated because of his poor health.

Monday’s twist is the latest in a scandal which came to light in October 2015, when news magazine Der Spiegel broke the scandal.

The money was allegedly provided by the late Robert Louis-Dreyfus, head of German sportswear giant Adidas, at the request of football legend Beckenbauer, who headed the committee promoting Germany’s candidacy.

According to Der Spiegel, the DFB had borrowed the cash to buy some of the votes for the German bid.

The funds were originally reported to have been transferred for a World Cup opening gala, an event which never took place.

After the scandal erupted, Frankfurt’s tax office found that the DFB did not appropriately account for the 6.7 million euros, and fined it 19.2 million euros.

The DFB has disputed the finding.

German Football Officials Charged In World Cup Fraud Probe

The World Cup winner’s trophy is seen during the 68th FIFA Congress at the Expocentre in Moscow on June 13, 2018. Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

Swiss prosecutors said Tuesday they had charged three former German Football Association (DFB) officials, including ex-president Theo Zwanziger, with fraud relating to the 2006 World Cup. 

In a statement, the attorney general’s office said the accused “are alleged to have fraudulently misled the members of a supervisory body of the DFB organising committee for the 2006 World Cup in Germany” in April 2005 about the true purpose of payment of around 6.7 million euros.

Hors Schmidt, former secretary of the German football federation, has also been charged with fraud — along with the Swiss Urs Linsi, secretary-general of FIFA from June 1999 to June 2007.

Wolfgang Niersbach, who was a member of the 2006 bid committee and vice-president of the organising committee, has been charged with complicity in fraud.

READ ALSO: Chelsea Staff ‘Turned Blind Eye’ To Sexual Abuse – Report

Charges of money-laundering were dismissed in July.

All four have denied the claims.

“This whole Swiss campaign is wretched, malicious and will completely fail, because I have nothing to reproach myself for,” Zwanziger told AFP subsidiary SID.

“These incompetent investigators are banging their heads against a brick wall, and the wall will always win. The whole thing has long been a judiciary scandal and there has been no truly reproachable behaviour on the part of the accused.”

Niersbach said the accused only found out through the media that they had been charged and described the investigation as ‘unspeakable.’

“The accusations made will prove to be completely unfounded,” he added.

Proceedings against Franz Beckenbauer, a football legend in Germany, also implicated in the investigation, have been set apart because of the 1974 World Cup-winning captain’s ill health.

 Secret fund 

The attorney general’s statement said that Beckenbauer “is unable for health reasons to participate or to be questioned in the main hearing in the Federal Criminal Court (FCC).”

The German weekly Der Spiegel said recently that Beckenbauer’s health had significantly deteriorated since April and the stress of a court hearing could endanger his life

The announcement of charges comes at the end of an investigation which opened in November 2015 into a payment of 6.7 million euros made in 2005 by the DFB to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, former head of Adidas, a partner of the DFB.

Der Spiegel broke the story in late October 2015 when it claimed that Germany used a secret fund of 10 million Swiss francs (6.7 million euros at the time) to buy votes in the bid to stage the 2006 World Cup.

“This sum was used to fund various payments made via a Swiss law firm to a Qatari company belonging to Mohammed Bin Hammam,” the statement said.

At the time, Bin Hammam was a member of the FIFA Executive Committee and the FIFA Finance Committee.

In May 2018, Zwanziger was charged along with other former German football officials for “aggravated tax fraud” in the case.

But the procedure was abandoned five months later, for lack of evidence. However, the prosecution have since appealed the decision.

In a statement on Tuesday, the DFB said that the abandonment of proceedings in Germany last October had confirmed its conviction that the 6.7 million euro payment had been made in accordance with German tax law.

The association nonetheless said that it would appear as a plaintiff in the Swiss proceedings against Zwanziger, Schmidt, Linsi and Niersbach.

“If the DFB has suffered asset damage as a result of the actions of the accused then it is legally obliged to verify and exercise its right to compensation,” the statement said.

AFP