FIFA confirm investigations into Beckenbauer and Villar Llona
FIFA has confirmed German World Cup winner Franz Beckenbauer and vice president Angel Maria Villar Llona are both subject to investigations by the organization’s ethics committee.
Beckenbauer was a FIFA voter when Russia and Qatar were chosen to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups respectively, while Villar Llona has sat as vice president on FIFA’s executive committee since 1998.
The investigations into both men have been completed and are now awaiting verdict.
A FIFA statement read: "Proceedings relating to the two officials Angel Maria Villar Llona and Franz Beckenbauer have already been passed on to the adjudicatory chamber."
Beckenbauer and Villar Llona are two of 11 names confirmed to be under investigation by FIFA which include president Sepp Blatter, secretary general Jerome Valcke and UEFA president Michel Platini. All three were handed provisional 90-day suspensions two weeks ago.
The other six officials identified are Worawi Makudi, Jeffrey Webb, Ricardo Teixeira, Amos Adamu, Eugenio Figueredo and Nicolas Leoz.
Beckenbauer and Villar Llona had not been publicly named before as under investigation but a change in the ruling on Tuesday means FIFA’s ethics committee can now reveal details of cases that are ongoing.
Beckenbauer headed the organizing committee for the 2006 World Cup and was forced to reject allegations on Sunday that a slush fund was set up to buy Germany votes to host the tournament.
He was also suspended last year for initially refusing to assist the investigation led by FIFA prosecutor Michael Garcia into the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
Villar Llona is president of the Spanish football federation and acting head of UEFA in the absence of Platini. He also replaced the Frenchman on Tuesday as interim chairman of the 2018 World Cup organizing committee.
FIFA’s statement did not include details of the charges Beckenbauer and Villar Llona face.
The pair’s involvement, however, piles more pressure on FIFA, which had to confirm on Tuesday its presidential election will go ahead on February 26, despite provisional bans handed to Blatter and Platini.
Platini and Blatter are being investigated over a £1.35million (about $2million) payment Platini received from Blatter in 2011, which they say related to consultancy work Platini completed nine years earlier. They deny any wrongdoing.
Platini has submitted his candidacy to become FIFA president ahead of Monday’s deadline but the former European player of the year will not be allowed to stand while his suspension remains in force.
If the ban is lifted before February’s vote, however, the Frenchman’s candidacy will be reconsidered and FIFA said it would aim to deliver a verdict within the 90-day period.
FIFA said: "The investigatory chamber of the independent Ethics Committee has confirmed that proceedings are ongoing against FIFA President Joseph Blatter and UEFA President Michel Platini, both of whom are currently provisionally suspended. The investigation is focusing on a payment of CHF 2 million from FIFA to Michel Platini in February 2011.
"The investigatory chamber will do everything in its power to ensure that a decision can be taken by the adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert, within the 90-day suspension period (which began on 8 October 2015) of the two football officials."
FIFA secretary general Valcke is under investigation for separate charges, relating to "misuse of expenses and other infringements of FIFA’s rules and regulations".
Makudi, Webb, Teixeira, Adamu, Figueredo and Leoz are all former members of FIFA’s executive committee.
Makudi, Webb, Figueredo, Leoz and Teixeira were arrested on corruption charges earlier this year, while Adamu was banned for three years in 2010 for bribery during the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.