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2006 World Cup decision Friday, 7 July, 2000, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Fiasco of Fifa World Cup vote
And the winner is... Germany
The BBC's Paul Newman examines the murky process by which Fifa has chosen the nation to host the 2006 World Cup.

It's a drama so bizarre it would have been impossible to invent, but the fiasco surrounding Fifa's decision on who should host the football World Cup in 2006 threatens to undermine the credibility of an organisation hardly renowed for its openness.

Death threats, hoax bribes, and one delegate changing his mind at the last minute all contributed to Germany's extraordinary defeat of South Africa by 12 votes to 11.

The outcome in Zurich yesterday sparked fury among the losers and allegations of skullduggery have been flying ever since.

Fifa member Charles Dempsey
Fifa member Charles Dempsey
The man at the centre of the voting controversy is 78-year-old Charlie Dempsey, the Fifa delegate from New Zealand who represents the region of Oceania.

At the eleventh hour, Mr Dempsey decided to abstain in the critical vote rather than support South Africa which his federation had instructed him to do.

He says he was subjected to death threats, had to endure "unsustainable pressure" through a series of telephone calls to his hotel room and even received offers of bribes.

His abstention handed victory to Germany and Scottish-born Mr Dempsey is now half-way back to New Zealand fielding endless inquiries from the media.

To make matters worse, it's emerged today that a German satirical magazine sent hoax faxes to a number of Fifa delegates urging them to support the German bid in return for a gift.

Titanic fax

The editor in chief of the monthly "Titanic" magazine claims that Charlie Dempsey was among eight members of the executive committee to receive the fax on Wednesday, the night before the vote.

Fifa have launched an inquiry into the sleaze allegations. Officials say the German Football Federation and members of the organising committee will take part.

The South Africans, of course, are suitably outraged, crying foul and demanding action. The reality is though, that despite all the huffing and puffing, little is likely to change.

It seems inconceivable that Fifa will order a re-run of the vote unless much more emerges when the Oceania federation hear Charlie Dempsey's claims in detail on Monday.

Suffice to say there's as much chance of another vote as there was of England winning the bid in the first place.

But this is the mysterious world of football and who would have bet on Germany overcoming South Africa...?

See also:

07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
07 Jul 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
29 Jun 00 | 2006 World Cup decision
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