Beckenbauer’s status on the line

franz-beckenbauerFranz Beckenbauer could come out of FIFA’s ongoing investigation with his legendary status badly damaged, according to the chair of the German government’s sports committee.

“It usually takes a long time until national heroes fall. At the moment, it can’t be ruled out that the character of Franz Beckenbauer will be damaged by massive scratches,” Dagmar Freitag, who chairs the Bundestag’s sports committee, said Saturday.

“What happened before the (2006) World Cup was held in Germany needs to be clarified and it must not stop short of the big names.”

Last Wednesday, world football’s governing body said both German football great Beckenbauer and FIFA vice president Maria Villar Llona have been investigated.

It said inquiries against the two are in the hands of the FIFA ethics committee’s court for a decision.

The two were on a list of 11 names – also including suspended FIFA leader Sepp Blatter and UEFA president Michel Platini — that the ethics committee said have been or are the target of inquiries.

While the ethics watchdog did not say why Beckenbauer and Villar Llona had been investigated, both were on the FIFA executive committee when Russia and Qatar were awarded the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in controversial votes in 2010.

Beckenbauer, 70, was briefly suspended by FIFA last year for refusing to cooperate with a corruption inquiry into World Cup votes by former US federal prosecutor Michael Garcia.

One of only two people to have won the World Cup as a player and coach, Beckenbauer led Germany’s successful bid for the 2006 World Cup and last week he denied a report that a 6.7 million euro fund was used to buy votes.

German football was plunged into scandal ten days ago when magazine Spiegel made cash-for-votes allegations over the attribution of the 2006 World Cup to Germany and Beckenbauer led the organising committee.

The magazine claimed the German Football Association (DFB) borrowed 10.3 million Swiss francs in 2000 from the late head of sportswear giant Adidas, Robert Louis-Dreyfus, in order to buy the votes of four Asian members of FIFA executive committee.

The German magazine claimed the federation transferred 6.7 million euros to a FIFA account in 2005 to reimburse Louis-Dreyfus, which the DFB has strenuously denied.—AFP

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