News 22nd October 2015

FIFA Update: Beckenbauer and Villar Llona investigation concluded

The investigatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee has confirmed that investigatory proceedings have been passed against FIFA Vice-President Ángel María Villar Llona and former Executive Committee member Franz Beckenbauer. The statement follows the approval by the Executive Committee of new wording of Article 36 of the FIFA Code of Ethics. The amendment of this confidentiality clause means that the the Ethics Committee can now confirm on request the opening of proceedings against representatives of world football. Previously it was prevented from commenting on ongoing cases.

FIFA did not offer any other information on the grounds of the investigation in its media release, however according to The Telegraph, Beckenbauer and Villar Llona were under investigation for actions ‘related to the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.’ According to the newspaper, final verdicts in both cases were ‘pending’ by FIFA’s head judge and colleagues. Beckenbauer and Villar Llona were reportedly being prosecuted over their ‘refusal to co-operate’ with the inquiry into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.

Neither of the two under investigation reportedly face charges over the bidding process itself, however Villar Llona was the subject of allegations of a vote-trading pact when he was head of the unsuccessful Spain and Portugal 2018 World Cup bid.

Franz Beckenbauer was provisionally suspended by FIFA in June last year after he refused ‘to cooperate with an Ethics Committee investigation despite repeated requests for his assistance.’ The investigation was led by Michael Garcia who as chairman of the investigative chamber of the Ethics Committee, and who had been mandated to investigate allegations of corruption in world football. The ban was revoked just two weeks later when it was ‘concluded that all the conditions for the imposition of provisional measures were no longer fulfilled.’ Beckenbauer was warned that any repetition or continuation of his conduct may result in ‘further sanctions, including new provisional measures’ and that investigatory procedures were ongoing.

The Ethics Committee also confirmed that proceedings are currently ongoing against Sepp Blatter, Michel Platini and FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke. It further announced that formal investigation proceedings against six former Executive Committee members were also ongoing: Worawi Makudi, Jeffrey Webb, Ricardo Teixeira, Amos Adamu, Eugenio Figueredo and Nicolás Leoz.

Webb, Figueredo and Leoz were named in a US Department of Justice (DoJ) indictment in May this year, in connection to bribery allegations, as reported by the Sports Integrity Initiative. Adamu was banned by FIFA in 2011 after allegations of bribery in relation to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes. In 2013 Teixeira was deemed by FIFA to have accepted bribe money in relation to the awarding of TV marketing rights to the FIFA World Cup, but which was not punishable under Swiss criminal law at the time. In July this year Makudi was found guilty of forgery during his 2013 re-election as President of the Football Association of Thailand.

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