CHRISTIAN RADNEDGE in LONDON: Franz Beckenbauer added his voice to the growing number of calls for FIFA to publish the Michael Garcia report into the bidding processes of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The report, now in the hands of FIFA ethics judge Justice Joachim Eckert, has been subject to calls for publication from executive members to even from independent nvestigator Garcia himself.
Now, former executive committee member Beckenbauer believes if FIFA has nothing to hide they should publish it.
Speaking during the Securing Sport conference in London, he said: “While there is speculation and no decision being taken, rumours are going around and that’s negative. If the report is finalised and submitted it should be published as quickly as possible – it should be assessed and give closure. Otherwise there will be rumours and that’s bad.
“I don’t see any reason why it should not be published but that’s a decision for FIFA. It’s up to FIFA to decide. But personally, I believe there’s nothing to hide and if there’s nothing to hide you can publish it and devolve it.”
President Sepp Blatter has come in for intense criticism and there have even been calls for him to resign, with governance expert Michael Hershman having stated at Securing Sport on Monday that he should step aside “for the good of the sport.
However Beckenbauer saw no reason why Blatter should not stand if the 78-year-old Swiss felt up to it.
Bayern Munich’s honorary president said: “If he’s of the opinion he is fit enough; I’m sure he will have considered his reasons and talked to his friends and medical advisers because to be FIFA president requires a lot of work and a lot of effort.
“If he’s up for it, he should stand; why not? Whether it’s right or wrong, nobody can answer. It’s up to himself. If he feels up to it and wants to stand then we will have to see next year what the results are.”
The World Cup winner was on the executive committee at the time of the vote on the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts in December 2010.
As part of Garcia’s investigation, the German was submitted with questions and although he did not respond initially – earning himself a provisional 90 day suspension from FIFA – he later cooperated and clarified why there was a delay.
He said: “It’s very simple: after years and years I had not been in the FIFA exco, I was of the opinion I would not have to fill in this questionnaire and that’s how the deadline was missed and they provisionally banned me for several weeks.
“I then answered the questions and this is a story of the past.”
Beckenbauer added that the delay was also due to the questions being put to him in English and not his native German: “It is my mother tongue and I put things better in my own language and these were legal questions and legal questions I simply cannot answer in English.”
Another Qatar issue is whether the tournament should be played in the northern hemisphere summer or winter, with temperatures able to reach up to 117 degrees Fahrenheit.
A task force led by AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim al Khalifa and FIFA secretary-general Jerome Valcke is assessing opinion worldwide on whether the tournament should be played on alternative dates in 2022.
Europe’s major clubs are apprehensive of moving the tournament to winter because of how it would impact the domestic calendar but Beckenbauer reiterated his support for the switch.
He said: “I was surprised Qatar won. In the summer it’s not possible to play football there, despite the Qataris developing a way of cooling the stadiums.
“Is it necessary to make such energy when you can play in the winter in perfect playing conditions? I think it should be played in the winter.”
Beckenbauer denied that he was aware of any sort of gift-giving during the bidding process.