Trio of 2006 World Cup executives face tax evasion charges

Three key figures behind the 2006 World Cup in Germany have been charged with tax evasion in connection with payments to Fifa, football’s global governing body.

According to German news agency DPA, Theo Zwanziger, Wolfgang Niersbach and Horst Schmidt have been indicted by Frankfurt prosecutors.

They have denied charges of falsifying tax returns on behalf of the DFB, the sport’s governing body in Germany.

The DFB has already paid €19.2m ($22.4m) in back taxes, having published a review of payments to Fifa associated with the World Cup.

According to the Associated Press news agency, it was claimed that a €6.7m payment to Fifa in 2005 was for a World Cup opening gala, and therefore tax-deductible. The payment ended up in a Swiss account belonging to Robert Louis-Dreyfus, the former head of sportswear giant Adidas, who died in 2009.