SALVADOR: Franz Beckenbauer, greatest player and personality in the history of German football, has been banned for 90 days by FIFA ethics investigator Michael Garcia writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
For almost the first time in his magisterial football career, the golden crown of Der Kaiser risks being tarnished by his snubbing the world federation inquiry into the 2018/2022 World Cup bid scandal.
In a further clarification of the provisional suspension FIFA made it clear that Beckenbauer was barred from attending matches at the World Cup finals; Germany kickoff against Portugal here in Salvador on Monday.
Garcia, the New York-based attorney who has spent two years investigating corruption concerns around the 2018/2022 bid process, wanted Beckenbauer to answer questions about how he saw events during his spell as a member of the FIFA executive committee.
This was not an inquisition aimed specifically at the former World Cup-winning captain and then manager but at all the members of FIFA’s governing body at ballot time in December 2010.
Beckenbauer was a representative of European federation UEFA on the FIFA exco between 2007 and 2011. He is thought to have voted for Russia in the 2018 ballot and, initially, to have been the only supporter of Australia for 2022.
Beckenbauer said last week that since he was no longer a member of the FIFA exco he had seen no reason to put himself out by meeting Garcia and, in any case, he was no longer directed involved in the game.
The former German federation vice-president also admitted that Garcia had been irritated by two further refusals to co-operate.
Added mystery about Beckenbauer’s role was raised when The Sunday Times, which has raised corruption allegations over the Qatar award, reported that in 2009 Beckenbauer flew to Doha and met the Emir as a guest of Mohamed Bin Hammam, Qatar’s disgraced former FIFA exco member.
Bin Hammam also invited Beckenbauer five months after the vote along with senior executives from an oil and gas shipping firm to which he was a consultant.
Beckenbauer reportedy held two more meetings with Bin Hammam in May and June 2011. The shipping firm, ER Capital Holding, has said that nothing resulted from the talks.
The sanction is a second blow against Bayern Munich bosses after the jailing earlier this season of board president Uli Hoeness for tax evasion. Beckenbauer is honorary president of the German champions.
Garcia concluded this week his two-year investigation into the scandal-hit bid campaign and will report his findings and recommendations next month to Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. These could include sanctions against anyone whom Garcia deemed as having been obstructive.
Ethics committee statement
Franz Beckenbauer was today provisionally banned from taking part in any football-related activity, at any level, for 90 days. The deputy chairman of the FIFA Ethics Committee’s adjudicatory chamber, Alan Sullivan, issued the ban at the request of the chairman of the investigatory chamber, Michael J. Garcia. The ban is effective immediately.
The decision was taken pursuant to the FIFA Code of Ethics art. 83 par. 1, on the grounds that a breach of the Code of Ethics appears to have been committed and a decision on the main issue may not be taken early enough.
The apparent breach relates to Mr Beckenbauer’s failure to cooperate 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.
Pursuant to art. 35 par. 2(c), the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber, Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, withdrew from participation in this matter.*
*KR.com: Eckert recused himself on the grounds that he shares Beckenbauer’s German nationality