Franz Beckenbauer, the German soccer official and former executive committee member of Fifa, is free to return to soccer-related activity after his 90-day ban from the sport was revoked today.
The decision was made by Alan Sullivan, the deputy chairman of Fifa's independent Ethics Committee’s adjudicatory chamber.
Beckenbauer was banned on 13 June for failing to co-operate with the Fifa ethics committee investigation into the controversial awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, respectively.
Beckenbauer claimed at the time that he had not refused to co-operate but had wanted to respond to the committee in German, his native language, not English.
In a statement issued by his manager Marcus Hoefl today, Beckenbauer said he had "underestimated the matter," adding that the main reason was "such voluminous administrative things" are usually dealt with by his management team.
Sullivan did warn 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. The investigation proceedings opened by Michael J. Garcia and conducted by Vanessa Allard, which will determine whether Mr Beckenbauer violated provisions of the FIFA Code of Ethics, are on-going."
Beckenbauer was a member of the Fifa executive committee that awarded the World Cups to Russia and Qatar and he has since been accused of visiting Qatar before and after the vote, on trips arranged by fellow former Fifa executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam, who has since been banned from all soccer-related activity for corruption.
There is a new focus on the issue this month, with the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper having reported apparently new allegations, including that Qatar’s Bin Hammam made payments of over $5 million to help his country win the right to host the World Cup. Bin Hammam has so far declined to comment on the claims.
Michael Garcia, the former US attorney who is head of the investigatory chamber of the Fifa ethics committee, is leading the probe.
The Qatari organisers of the 2022 World Cup have repeatedly denied foul play and claimed that Bin Hammam, who was banned for life by Fifa in 2012 following a separate corruption investigation, had no official or unofficial role in the successful bid.
The Middle East country was a controversial choice as host of the World Cup because of its small size, lack of soccer heritage and summer temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius, which have already prompted a continuing Fifa study to assess whether the tournament should be moved from its traditional months of June and July to the northern hemisphere winter.