Suspended Franz Beckenbauer Hits Back, Will Cooperate With FIFA Corruption Inquiry
Franz Beckenbauer has hit back at FIFA "over his 90-day ban for failing to aid the ongoing investigation into corruption allegations surrounding the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and insisted he will cooperate with the inquiry," according to Philip Oltermann of the London GUARDIAN. In a statement, Beckenbauer said he would answer FIFA's statement "within the next two weeks and therefore assumed the ban, which includes his attendance at World Cup games, would be lifted with immediate effect." But Beckenbauer also criticized FIFA "for failing to inform him of its decision." Beckenbauer had been "extremely surprised" by hearing of his ban via the news on Friday, even though FIFA's ethics rules state that "any party accused of deliberate breach would be given the chance to release an advance statement." Beckenbauer: "It was the first time that FIFA did not know how to contact me by telephone. Furthermore I always assumed that I did not have to answer the questions because I no longer hold an official function with FIFA. But that has now been cleared up" (GUARDIAN, 6/15). REUTERS' Erik Kirschbaum reported FIFA said that Beckenbauer "had received repeated requests to provide information to an ethics committee investigation." Beckenbauer said that "he wanted the questions in German." The 68-year-old had said that "he had nothing to hide from the committee and that he would answer questions in his native German language" (REUTERS, 6/15). The London TELEGRAPH reported Beckenbauer was a voter on FIFA's board "when it chose Russia and Qatar as World Cup hosts in December 2010." The case against him for non-cooperation "is being investigated" by a member of FIFA Chief Investigator Michael Garcia's ethics panel (TELEGRAPH, 6/15).
NOTHING TO HIDE: The AFP reported in an interview with German newspaper Bild last week, Beckenbauer said that "he had nothing to hide, but complained that Garcia had refused to pose his questions in a language he understood." He said, "I was ready to answer all pertinent questions, but they sent them to me in a legal English that I could not understand in such a complex case." According to British media reports, quoting thousands of emails linked to the case, Beckenbauer "went to Qatar as a guest" of former FIFA VP Mohamed bin Hammam before the '10 vote and met the state's emir. They added that "he returned after the vote" (AFP, 6/15).