Published: 17 December 2016 Saturday, 08:24 AM
FIFA`s appeal committee on Friday dismissed an appeal from its council member and former German football federation (DFB) president Wolfgang Niersbach against a one-year ban from football activities in connection with the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany.
Niersbach was found guilty by the ethics committee of the ruling body in July to have "failed to report findings about possible misconduct concerning the awarding of the 2006 World Cup" and was banned over this unethical conduct and conflict of interest.
The 66-year-old appealed the ban he considered "unreasonable and excessive."
But a statement Friday confirmed that "Mr Niersbach’s conduct constituted a violation" of FIFA ethics rules and that "a one-year ban from taking part in any football-related activity at national and international level was adequate in this case.
"In consequence, Mr Niersbach’s ban for a period of one year is maintained as from 25 July 2016."
In a e-mail statement, Niersbach said he would not appeal the latest ruling at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), and that he would hand back his FIFA council mandate despite being elected until 2019. His term as UEFA executive committee member meanwhile ends in spring 2017 before the expiration of the ban.
He said he has informed the DFB leadership, FIFA president Gianni Infantino and UEFA secretary general Theodore Theodoridis of his decision.
"The decision hits me very hard because I expected a substantial reduction of the ban with the appeal. I stick to my assessment that the ethics committee ruling is completely excessive," he said.
"I am elected until 2019 into the FIFA council but this seat should no longer be vacant, given the number of important issues. That`s why I am resigning with immediate effect."
Niersbach resigned as DFB president on November 9, saying he took responsibility for the World Cup affair surrounding a payment made by Germany`s 2006 World Cup organizing committee, under its president Franz Beckenbauer, of 6.7 million euros (7.4 million dollars) to FIFA in 2005.
Niersbach was a vice-president of the World Cup organizing committee, responsible for marketing and media.
The FIFA ethics committee in March opened an investigation on the affair, probing six officials including Beckenbauer, Niersbach and another former DFB president, Theo Zwanziger.
The DFB hired outside law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer to investigate the scandal and though the company said it found no evidence of vote buying around the World Cup award, new unclear payments - including from an account held by Beckenbauer - had emerged.
Its report said that Niersbach knew of the payment several months before informing DFB top officials and the FIFA ethics committee.
Niersbach is also under criminal investigation over the affair in Germany and Switzerland.
German prosecutors meanwhile said Friday that a suspicious encrypted file, only handed over to the authorities by the DFB last month, had revealed no new evidence in the case.