Franz Beckenbauer last night became the highest-profile casualty of Fifa’s probe into World Cup bidding after the German was provisionally banned for 90 days while he is investigated for refusing to co-operate.
Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner as a player and a manager, honorary president of Bayern Munich and a special adviser to Fifa’s football committee, was handed the suspension by Fifa’s ethics committee’s adjudicatory chamber.
The 68-year-old was on the Fifa executive committee which awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively. He stepped down in 2011. Beckenbauer claims that he did not respond to an interview request sent by ethics investigator Michael Garcia, an American attorney, because he did not understand all of the questions that were sent to him in English.
Fifa said in a statement yesterday: “Franz Beckenbauer was today provisionally banned from taking part in any football-related activity, at any level, for 90 days.
“The apparent breach relates to Mr Beckenbauer’s failure to co-operate with an ethics committee investigation despite repeated requests for his assistance, including requests that he provide information during an in-person interview or in response to written questions provided in both English and German.
“The case is now the subject of formal investigation proceedings being conducted by investigatory chamber member Vanessa Allard as chief of the investigation.”
Earlier this week, Garcia issued a veiled threat to officials who refused to co-operate with the investigation that they could face “real penalties”.
Beckenbauer insisted he had nothing to hide.
He told German media: “I politely requested a meeting in which we could talk about the matter in German. That was apparently not desired. That aside I wouldn’t be able to contribute anything to clear up the matter anyway.”