FIFA has suspended German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer for refusing to cooperate with its investigation into allegations of corruption related to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bids.
Michael Garcia, the chief investigator for FIFA’s ethics committee, requested a 90-day ban for Beckenbauer, the Associated Press reports. He’s the first person to be suspended as a result of the investigation.
“The decision was taken pursuant to the FIFA Code of Ethics art. 83 par. 1, the ground 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,” FIFA said in a statement.
“The apparent breach related 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.”
Beckenbauer, 68, was part of the FIFA executive committee that voted to give the World Cup hosting rights to Russia in 2018 and Qatar in 2022, BBC reports. He’s a revered figure in Germany, having played on the country’s World Cup-winning team in 1976 and coached the national team when they won again in 1990.
He has since stepped down from the executive committee, but still serves as a special advisor to FIFA. Beckenbauer claims that he didn’t cooperate with investigators because he was asked to answer questions that were written in English.
Earlier this month, a report by the Sunday Times revealed that former FIFA executive Mohamed Bin Hammam bribed top soccer officials with $5 million to secure support for Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
It’s unclear if Beckenbauer’s 90-day ban will prevent him from attending games at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.