The world’s soccer governing body FIFA confirmed for the first time Wednesday that it has been investigating German soccer legend Franz Beckenbauer. The probe is apparently already so far along that it has moved on to the next stage.
FIFA said in a statement that it had completed an initial investigation into Mr. Beckenbauer, the former Bayern Munich player, over wrongdoing linked to World Cup tournaments awarded to Russia and Qatar, and that it had passed on its findings to its ethics committee for a final verdict.
The 70-year-old German, who won the World Cup as both a player and coach, sat on FIFA’s executive committee when it voted on bids from Russia and Qatar, which were later chosen to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively.
Ángel María Villar Llona, who is president of the Spanish Football Association and has been vice president of the FIFA executive committee since 1998, is also under investigation, FIFA confirmed.
The cases of both men, who deny any wrongdoing, are related to non-cooperation with the committee’s investigations.
In June 2014, FIFA suspended Mr. Beckenbauer for 90 days after refusing to cooperate with the body’s then ethics investigator Michael Garcia’s probe into the World Cup votes. The organization lifted the ban after two weeks when the German agreed to answer Mr. Garcia’s questions, but the former soccer star has faced further scrutiny.
The verdict is now in the hands of the German ethics judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert.