Franz Beckenbauer has cancelled a trip to the World Cup in Brazil after being banned by FIFA for failing to co-operate with a probe into Qatar’s bid for the 2022 tournament.
Beckenbauer, 68, who won the World Cup as a player and a manager, said he would not feel welcome in Brazil after being hit with a 90-day suspension over his refusal to speak to ethics investigators.
“I won’t be going to Brazil,” said Beckenbauer, whose sole title these days is honorary president of Bayern Munich.
“I am basing that decision on the fact I will not be welcomed by FIFA.”
Beckenbauer, who was a member of the FIFA executive board in 2010 when the votes were cast to award Russia the 2018 finals and Qatar the 2022 edition, had originally planned to go to Brazil for the semi-finals.
Alan Sullivan QC, the deputy chairman of the independent FIFA Ethics Committee’s adjudicatory chamber said Beckenbauer would not have been allowed access to any stadium under the terms of his ban.
“Franz Beckenbauer cannot participate in any football-related activity, which includes, amongst other things, being invited to attend or attending on a private basis any football match in any capacity,” Sullivan said in a statement.
Beckenbauer refused to cooperate with Michael Garcia, the former US federal prosecutor who headed an investigation in the votes for the Qatar vote and another that awarded the 2018 World Cup to Russia.
A formal investigation of the Beckenbauer case has been started by investigatory chamber member Vanessa Allard.
The international spotlight has fallen on Garcia’s investigation following allegations reported by the Sunday Times newspaper that a former Qatar football boss and FIFA vice-president, Mohamed bin Hammam paid more than five million dollars to get support for the emirate’s bid.
The ban against Beckenbauer is largely symbolic as he is no longer on the FIFA executive and has no formal role in German football.
However, because of his playing and coaching record and his role as head of the German committee which organised the 2006 World Cup he remains very influential in international football.
In an interview with Bild, Beckenbauer said he had nothing to hide, but complained that Garcia had refused to pose his questions in a language he understood.
“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,” he told Bild.
Beckenbauer said he had a right to keep his FIFA vote in 2010 secret.
But he added: “People with a memory will remember that I declared just after (the vote) that the choice of Qatar surprised me. And I was one of the first to say that a World Cup over there was impossible and that it would have to be played in winter.”
According to British media reports, quoting thousands of emails linked to the case, Beckenbauer went to Qatar as a guest of bin Hammam before the 2010 vote and met the state’s emir. They added that he returned after the vote.