Accused awarded CHF1m after botched World Cup trial

The 2006 World Cup, won by Italy, was considered a sporting success, but doubts remain about the way it was handled behind the scenes. Keystone / Michael Sohn

Four ex-football officials from Germany and Switzerland have been collectively awarded nearly CHF1 million ($1.1 million) following a collapsed fraud trial in the Alpine nation.

This content was published on May 21, 2021 - 13:55

They were accused of making corrupt payments to secure the 2006 World Cup for Germany.

The trial foundered last year as most defendants could not attend a court hearing due to the coronavirus pandemic. The delay led to the case being thrown out as too much time had elapsed since the offences were allegedly carried out.

Swiss prosecutors were roundly criticised for taking too much time to bring the case to trial, having started investigations in 2015.

Former German football officials Theo Zwanziger, Horst Schmidt and Wolfgang Niersbach, plus ex-FIFA general secretary Urs Linsi had all denied the charges.

On Friday, the Swiss Federal Court agreed to pay their legal costs and damages – a sum amounting to nearly CHF1 million.

“This shows once again that a possible judgment could not have been anything other than acquittal,” said Swiss national Linsi in a statement. “The fact that it took more than a year to reach this decision is another unworthy chapter in the history of federal criminal justice.”

A separate case against former German playing legend Franz Beckenbauer was called off because he was suffering from ill health.

World football governing body FIFA also dropped its internal hearings into the case because it ran out of time to prosecute.

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