FIFA banned Franz Beckenbauer, considered the greatest German footballer to ever lace up cleats, from participating in any soccer related activity for 90 days because he did not cooperate with the investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids for Russia and Qatar, respectively.
Mohomed bin Hammam allegedly used Qatar’s wealth to buy votes for its World Cup bid, and a few documents name Beckenhauer. As news reports have noted, “Beckenbauer was one of the 22 members of the FIFA executive committee who in 2010” cast secret ballots for World Cup hosts. Beckenbauer has reportedly never revealed which countries he voted for. FIFA released this statement:
The decision was taken pursuant to the FIFA Code of Ethics art. 83 par. 1, on the grounds that a breach of the Code of Ethics appears to have been committed and a decision on the main issue may not be taken early enough. The apparent breach relates to Mr Beckenbauer’s failure to cooperate with an Ethics Committee investigation despite repeated requests for his assistance, including requests that he provide information during an in-person interview or in response to written questions provided in both English and German. The case is now the subject of formal investigation proceedings being conducted by investigatory chamber member Vanessa Allard as chief of the investigation.
The Sunday Times named Beckenhauer in an explosive expose on June 8. The paper received documents that said Beckenhauer was in Qatar before and after the World Cup votes. From The Sunday Times:
Flight itineraries, emails and hotel bookings also reveal that, after the bid was won, Franz Beckenbauer, the former German star who had also been a member of Exco, travelled to Doha accompanied by Erck Rickmers, owner of the German shipping firm ER Capital Holding.
The company had hired Beckenbauer as a consultant after he stood down from his Fifa Exco seat in April 2011.
The two men were accompanied by Beckenbauer’s agent, Marcus Hoefl, and three other executives from the shipping company which owns a fleet that transports oil and gas on the high seas.
A spokesman for the firm confirmed last week that they were there to discuss Qatari investments in the maritime sector, but said no contract was signed as a result of the meetings with senior Qatari officials, which Bin Hammam did not attend. Beckenbauer declined to comment.
Michel Platini, one of the soccer greats involved in the controversy, admitted that bin Hammam arranged a meeting between him and the Qatar bid committee in Switzerland. Bin Hammam also arranged meetings between famous soccer players and Qatar’s royal family.