Franz Beckenbauer among four to be investigated in World Cup bidding probe

Franz Beckenbauer among four to be investigated in World Cup bidding probe
Former FIFA executive committee member Franz Beckenbauer.

Three current FIFA executive committee members are under investigation by ethics chief Michael Garcia following his probe into World Cup bidding, it can be revealed.

Spain’s Angel Maria Villar Llona, Michel D’Hooghe from Belgium and Worawi Makudi from Thailand are among the names being looked at by Garcia for possible ethics code breaches, according to sources close to the world governing body.

Former FIFA executive committee member Franz Beckenbauer is also under investigation by American attorney Garcia along with Harold Mayne-Nicholls from Chile, who headed the inspection team which compiled reports into the countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Last week Garcia announced “a number of individuals” have had formal cases opened against them .

Garcia and German judge Hans-Joachim Eckert, the chairman of the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee, released a joint statement last week confirming a number of individuals were under investigation.

FIFA has also lodged a separate criminal complaint with the Swiss attorney general.

The joint Garcia-Eckert statement of November 20 also said that Garcia’s full report into his investigation into bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups would be passed to Domenico Scala, the chairman of FIFA’s audit and compliance committee. That committee would determine how much of the information should be made available to FIFA’s executive committee.

Given that three members of the executive committee are being investigated by Garcia, it is unclear how much, if any, of the information contained in the report can be shared.

Earlier this month Eckert cleared Russia and Qatar to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups saying rule breaches by the bidding countries were ”of very limited scope”.

Garcia responded by notifying FIFA that he intended to lodge an appeal against the decision due to ”numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts”.

A wide spectrum of football observers have called for Garcia's full report to be made public.

British Conservative MP Damian Collins, who described the Eckert report as a “whitewash”, told the Commons on Thursday that the “chaos” at FIFA surrounding the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding shows it is not fit to govern the world game.

The UK's Sports minister Helen Grant did not directly address Mr Collins’ plea in her reply.

Speaking during culture, media and sport questions, Folkestone and Hythe MP Mr Collins asked her: “Will you agree with me that the recent chaos at FIFA demonstrates it is not fit to govern world football and could you confirm the Government would not support a future bid from England to host the World Cup while the current leadership team at FIFA remains in place?”

The minister replied: “In his letter to (FIFA president) Sepp Blatter, Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: ’FIFA could restore credibility by publishing Michael Garcia’s report and the failure to do so would further damage its own credibility and the reputation of football’.”


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