ZURICH (Reuters) - FIFA’s ethics watchdog on Wednesday imposed a warning and 7,000 Swiss franc ($7,055) fine on German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer for stonewalling an investigation.
The former World Cup-winning player and coach is arguably Germany’s most iconic footballer and a household name who also ran the 2006 World Cup in his home country,
“In the present case, Mr Beckenbauer failed to cooperate with an Ethics Committee investigation...regarding the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bids despite repeated requests for his assistance,” FIFA’s ethics panel said in a statement.
FIFA is investigating the awarding of those tournaments as world soccer’s governing body faces the biggest graft scandal in its history which has led to the indictment of several dozen leading soccer officials in the United States.
The present case did not look into matters related to the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany, the ethics panel added.
Beckenbauer has been questioned in an internal German investigation into that tournament and the country’s FA is due to release its report on March 4.
Beckenbauer has been quizzed in relation to a payment of 6.7 million euros to FIFA that the German FA has failed to explain as well as a proposed deal with disgraced former FIFA official Jack Warner.
Beckenbauer has said it was made to release a bulk payment from FIFA to 2006 World Cup organizers. He denies any wrongdoing.
The 70-year-old could not be immediately reached for comment.
The ethics watchdog has banned several top officials for years for their involvement in the biggest scandal to hit FIFA.
It said Beckenbauer’s eventual collaboration with the investigation was the reason for the light sanction.
“As Mr Beckenbauer subsequently demonstrated a willingness to cooperate, he has been sanctioned with a warning and fine of CHF 7,000,” it said.
($1 = 0.9922 Swiss francs)
Reporting by Zurich newsroom; Writing by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Michael Shields and Ed Osmond