FIFA banned German legend Franz Beckenbauer from all soccer activities for 90 days on Friday for failing to cooperate with an investigation into the 2022 World Cup bid process.
The sanction by soccer’s world governing body came at the request of former U.S. federal prosecutor Michael Garcia, who was collecting evidence on the controversial decisions to award the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
Beckenbauer, a World Cup winner as a player and a manager, hasn’t disputed the charge. He said publicly in a news conference in Munich last week that he had rejected Garcia’s requests on two occasions. He criticized both Garcia’s tone and the process, pointing out that he is no longer directly involved in the sport.
“Firstly, I must say that I am seriously surprised about Mr. Garcia’s approach,” Beckenbauer said then. “I am no longer actively involved in football, and he has therefore no power whatsoever to interview me. Fact is also, that Mr. Garcia, who is probably used to calling the shots, reacted unpleasantly to my response and tried the limits of my patience in his second missive, both in tone and content. I believe that the gentleman should try to understand that we like to maintain a certain form in Europe.”
But in 2010, when Qatar won the vote to host the World Cup, Beckenbauer was one of the FIFA executive committee’s 22 voting members. He retired from the executive committee in 2011.
“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,” FIFA said in a statement.
Garcia, appointed by FIFA’s ethics committee, traveled the world meeting current and former FIFA officials, as well as the various 2018 and 2022 bid committees, for a year. He finished gathering evidence this week and is expected to deliver his final report in about six weeks, once the 2014 World Cup is over. He didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.