Beckenbauer Bows To FIFA Pressure

FRANZ BECKENBAUERFranz Beckenbauer has bowed to pressure from FIFA and said he will answer questions put to him as part of a probe into alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes within two weeks.

The German, who has been hit with a 90-day worldwide ban from football, has committed to answering questions from the sport’s world governing body as part of the investigation by June 27.

A statement released by his management said the move means there is “no longer a suspicion of an alleged breach of the FIFA Code of Ethics, so we assume that the provisional sanction imposed against him is lifted immediately”.

Beckenbauer, who was a member of the FIFA Executive Committee that voted to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar respectively, was provisionally banned on Friday by FIFA’s Ethics Committee from all football-related activity for not cooperating with prosecutor Michael Garcia’s inquiry into corruption allegations surrounding the two bids.

The former World Cup winning footballer has since said he “at no point ruled out answering the questions”.

“In dealings with the Ethics Committee’s investigators, it was never about whether he would answer the questions, but solely how he would,” Beckenbauer’s manager Marcus Höfl explained.

“Franz Beckenbauer will answer the questions in writing in German.”

The statement also claimed Beckenbauer, who headed up Germany’s 2006 World Cup Organising Committee, was “surprised” by the ban as he was not informed of the decision in advance and was not given the opportunity to “have his say on the ‘suspicion of an alleged breach’”.

“It was the first time FIFA did not know how to reach me by telephone,” Beckenbauer said.

“Incidentally, I had always presumed that I didn’t have to answer the questions, as I no longer fulfilled an official role at FIFA.

“But that is now all cleared up as well.”

Beckenbauer said yesterday that he will not travel to Brazil for this year’s World Cup. —

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