World football governing body, FIFA, has lifted a 90 day ban from all football-related activities, placed on German football legend, Franz Beckenbauer, for failing to help an investigation of alleged corruption in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes, the German’s manager said on Friday.
Beckenbauer, had been banned two weeks ago after refusing to cooperate with an investigation into the award of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
The 68-year-old is a former member of the FIFA executive committee which controversially awarded the World Cup to Qatar in 2010 and had received “repeated requests” to provide information, FIFA said in a statement at the time of the ban.
Beckenbauer has since had a change of heart and offered to provide responses to the questions which he had initially rejected because they were written in what he described as “legalese English” which is complicated legal English.
The legend who won the world cup as a player and coach in 1974 and 1990 respectively, then pledged to answer the questions put to him in German and in writing, and his manager said on June 18 that the FIFA ethics committee received his answers to “all its questions”.
Friday’s statement said Beckenbauer’s management team continued to believe the ban was not justified because he had no obligation to testify to Fifa, but said that with hindsight it would have been better for him to answer the questions earlier.
“I underestimated the matter,” Beckenbauer said in the statement, adding that the main reason was “such voluminous administrative things” are usually dealt with by his management team, but in this case he was unable to involve it fully.
FIFA Secretary General, Jerome Valcke, told reporters that Beckenbauer could now attend the tournament he graced as a player with West Germany.
Beckenbauer has, however, indicated he had no plans to come to Brazil for the tournament.
“As you know Franz is someone we all respect and was an amazing footballer and we would love him to have him here at the World Cup, even more because his national team is playing in the second round,” Valcke told reporters in Rio de Janeiro.
“But it is his decision not to come to Brazil and that’s his decision,” he added.
Beckenbauer had been asked to co-operate with a FIFA ethics investigation led by American lawyer, Michael Garcia, but FIFA said he ignored “repeated requests” to assist the inquiry.
The ban issued at the start of the World Cup in Brazil meant he could not attend any games in an official capacity, embarrassing such a high profile figure in the game.
FIFA told Beckenbauer that a repeat of his actions could lead to further sanctions.
“The deputy chairman warned Mr Beckenbauer that a repetition or continuation of the conduct that led to the imposition of the provisional measure might give rise to further sanctions, including new provisional measures,” FIFA said in a statement.
As a player, Beckenbauer redefined the role of libero or sweeper and captained the West Germany side which won the 1974 World Cup.
He led West Germany to World Cup victory as a coach in 1990 and was head of the local organising committee when Germany hosted the showpiece in 2006.
Beckenbauer is an adviser to Fifa’s football committee and a global ambassador for Bayern Munich.