Franz Beckenbauer will cooperate with FIFA, expects ban to be lifted
KITZBUEHEL, Austria (AP) - Franz Beckenbauer has told FIFA he will answer the questions put to him as part of a corruption investigation by June 27 at the latest.
Beckenbauer's management said in a statement published Sunday that the commitment to answer questions 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 was provisionally banned by FIFA's ethics committee from all football-related activity on Friday for failing to help to help prosecutor Michael Garcia's probe of alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes. 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 Garcia's ethics panel. Beckenbauer 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). Franz Beckenbauer will answer the questions in writing in German,'' said the statement, which was published by Beckenbauer's manager Marcus Hoefl via Twitter.
The statement said Beckenbauer was ''surprised'' by the ban.
''He was never given the opportunity to have his say on the `suspicion of an alleged breach' in advance. He also was not informed of the decision in advance,'' it said.
Beckenbauer, who served on the FIFA board from 2007-11 after leading Germany's organization of the 2006 World Cup, was quoted as saying, ''It was the first time FIFA did not know how to reach me by telephone. 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.''
The Bild newspaper retracted a quote from Beckenbauer saying he would not be traveling to the World Cup. The newspaper said the quote was reported ''erroneously'' and that the former football great was awaiting developments over the next few days before making a decision on whether he would travel. Beckenbauer captained and coached West Germany to win World Cups.
He now works as Bayern Munich's global ambassador and as a special adviser to FIFA's football committee, while he makes regular TV appearances as a pundit for Sky television. Garcia, a former U.S. Attorney, has said that next month he will deliver a dossier on the World Cup case, which FIFA critics hope will order a re-vote.
Beckenbauer is the first football official to be sanctioned as a result of Garcia's World Cup investigation.