ZURICH: Franz Beckenbauer has had his embarrassing 90-day world football ban, imposed for not co-operating with Michael Garcia’s World Cup awards inquiry, lifted writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
But he may yet face sanction by the ethics committee of world federation FIFA over his initial refusal to answer questions about what he knows about the bids of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups from Russia and Qatar.
American attorney Garcia, FIFA’s independent ethics prosecutor, has spent two years inquiring into the contest and circumstances of the controversial World Cup awards.
Beckenbauer was a European federation delegate to the world governing body’s executive committee at the time of the vote in December 2010. However he refused several requests to meet Garcia who then had him suspended from all football for 90 days. This meant Beckenbauer was banned from attending the World Cup.
Public reaction and pressure from sponsors and friends then persuaded the greatest personality in German football history that his reputation and status were nose-diving and he changed his mind.
Garcia’s office has always insisted that all interviewees had the right to a translator and interpreter and to be accompanied, if so wished, by a legal adviser.
Confirmation of his co-operation came from his business manager Marcus Hoefl along with a FIFA statement that the ban had been lifted.
Hoefl said that Beckenbauer would not now be attending the World Cup, in any case. However this was regretted by Jerome Valcke, the FIFA secretary-general.
Valcke, asked about Beckenbauer’s World Cup absence, said: “Franz Beckenbauer is a high figure in football and someone we all respect and we would love to have him here at the World Cup because his national team is playing the second round but it’s his decision.”
Beckenbauer has denied any wrongdoing against a background of reported business visits to Qatar and subsequent promotional contracts with Russian and German energy companies.
The decision to provisionally ban Franz Beckenbauer was revoked today by the deputy chairman of the independent Ethics Committee’s adjudicatory chamber, Alan Sullivan QC.
Having received the appropriate submissions, Alan Sullivan QC considered that it was appropriate at the time to impose provisional measures. However, Sullivan QC, considering that a breach of the FIFA Code Ethics appeared to have been committed, concluded that all the conditions for the imposition of provisional measures were no longer fulfilled.
The deputy chairman warned Mr Beckenbauer that a repetition or continuation of the conduct that led to the imposition of the provisional measure might give rise to further sanctions, including new provisional measures.
The investigation proceedings opened by Mr Michael J. Garcia and conducted by Vanessa Allard, which will determine whether Mr Beckenbauer violated provisions of the FIFA Code of Ethics, are on-going.