m_Beckenbauer will answer Fifa questions

Sepp Blatter with Franz Beckenbauer

Franz Beckenbauer said on Sunday he was ready to answer questions from Fifa about an investigation into World Cup bidding by June 27 and believed that should remove any justification for its 90-day ban on him.

In a statement released via Twitter on Sunday, his spokesman Marcus Hoefl said that Beckenbauer’s readiness to answer the questions by Fifa’s ethics committee lifts any reason to uphold the ban issued by soccer’s world governing body on Friday.

“Franz Beckenbauer told Fifa on Saturday that he would answer the questions by the ethics committee investigation by June 27 at the latest,” Hoefl said.

“It is our understanding that there is thus no longer any ‘suspicion of a possible violation’ against Fifa rules so we are assuming that the provisional sanctions against him will be removed without delay.”

Hoefl added: “This procedure is thus completed: Franz Beckenbauer will answer the questions in writing in German.”

He added that Beckenbauer was “extremely surprised” by the Fifa ban and said Fifa never gave him a chance to answer the charges that he was under suspicion and not informed in advance that the decision to ban him was looming.

“It was the first time that Fifa didn’t know how to contact me on the telephone,” Beckenbauer is quoted as saying in the statement. “I had also assumed that I didn’t have to answer the questions because I no longer have any official capacity at Fifa. But that’s all cleared up now.”

Fifa had said on Saturday that Beckenbauer, Germany’s former World Cup-winning captain and coach, was banned from attending any match at any level for the next 90 days, even in a private capacity.

REPEATED REQUESTS

Fifa said Beckenbauer had received repeated requests to provide information to an ethics committee investigation. Beckenbauer said he wanted the questions posed in German.

The 68-year-old had said he had nothing to hide from the committee and that he would answer questions in his native German language.

Beckenbauer was on the Fifa executive committee which controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup hosting rights to Qatar.

His ban was imposed at the request of US lawyer Michael Garcia, head of the investigatory chamber of Fifa’s ethics committee, who is leading a probe into alleged corruption over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Russia was awarded the 2018 finals.

Beckenbauer is regarded as one of the greatest players to have graced the game and is revered in Germany, where he is honorary president of Bayern Munich, and abroad.

As a player, Beckenbauer redefined the role of libero and captained the West Germany side which won the 1974 World Cup.

He also led West Germany to World Cup success as a coach in 1990 and was head of the local organising committee when Germany hosted the tournament in 2006.

Beckenbauer is an honorary president at Bayern and a special adviser to Fifa’s football committee. He had planned to go on Bayern’s pre-season tour of the United States in August.

Reuters