Swiss prosecutors have confirmed they are investigating German football legend Franz Beckenbauer as part of a corruption probe.
In March, football’s world governing body Fifa began looking into six men for their part in Germany winning the rights to host the 2006 World Cup.
Swiss prosecutors say they have launched their own investigations, linked to that of Fifa.
Mr Beckenbauer, who headed Germany’s bid, has denied corruption.
Last October, he said he made a “mistake” in the bidding process to host the competition, but denied that votes were bought.
Fifa corruption: Franz Beckenbauer and three executive committee members face probe
German legend joins Angel Maria Villar Llona, Michel D’Hooghe and Worawi Makudi in being investigated by world governing body
Franz Beckenbauer and three current Fifa executives were facing disciplinary action as a result of its World Cup corruption inquiry on Thursday after it emerged they were being investigated for alleged breaches of its code of ethics.
Vice-president Angel Maria Villar Llona of Spain, Worawi Makudi from Thailand and Michel D’Hooghe from Belgium were among the names being looked at by Fifa’s chief investigator, according to sources close to the world governing body. Former executive committee member Beckenbauer, who remains involved in football, was also under investigation by American attorney Michael J Garcia.
As revealed by Telegraph Sport, Harold Mayne-Nicholls from Chile, who headed the inspection team which compiled reports into the countries bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, is being probed as well.
But it appears Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Uefa counterpart Michel Platini – the latter having voted for Qatar 2022 – are in the clear.
Last week, Garcia announced “a number of individuals” have had formal cases opened against them.
The grounds for investigating the three current executives and Germany legend Beckenbauer have yet to be made public, with none of them named in thesummary of Garcia’s inquiry released two weeks ago.
But Villar Llona could face action for the fact that one of the federations involved in the Spain-Portugal bid for the 2018 tournament was deemed by the summary to have been “particularly uncooperative”.
That 42-page report also contains allegations of vote-swapping between their bid team – led by Villar Llona – and that of Qatar 2022, which Blatter has previously confirmed took place.
And it mentions two existing executive committee members who took part in the ballot who “initially refused to be interviewed” by Garcia.
Makudi, meanwhile, could be probed over his involvement in a gas deal between his country and Qatar shortly before the vote in 2010.
He was also accused by former England 2018 bid chairman Lord Triesman of demanding television rights to a friendly between England and Thailand in return for his vote.
He unsuccessfully attempted to sue Triesman over the allegation, which was made under Parliamentary privilege.
D’Hooghe admitted in August 2011 that he accepted an expensive painting from an adviser to Russia’s successful 2018 World Cup bid, something he has since branded a “poisonous gift”.
He told Telegraph Sport on Thursday that he was not expecting to be sanctioned by Garcia after responding to questions from the investigator.
“I have given all the necessary correct answers and suppose my case is closed,” he said.
Beckenbauer could face action over his links with Qatar – he has denied being offered any bribe to vote for them of Russia – or even his initial refusal to co-operate with Garcia, which saw him provisionally suspended from football.
The revelation of the names of those executives under investigation may make it easier for Fifa to give an almost complete version of Garcia’s 430-page report to its executive committee at its next meeting in Morocco next month.
How much of the document Blatter and his fellow executives get to see will be decided by the chairman of Fifa’s audit and compliance committee, Domenico Scala, after Garcia and Fifa’s head judge, Hans-Joachim Eckert, failed to agree on what should be released.
The summary of Garcia’s report, written by Eckert, found that the American’s inquiry did not unearth enough evidence to warrant stripping Russia and Qatar of the next two World Cups.
But that decision rests with the ExCo, several members of which have demanded the full document after Garcia claimed Eckert’s summary contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts”.
The identities over several of those under investigation emerged less than 24 hours after Telegraph Sport revealed the Serious Fraud Office was actively seeking evidence relating to Fifa’s World Cup corruption probe.
That in turn came barely a week after football’s world governing body submitted a complaint to the Swiss Attorney General over allegations unlawful conduct took place during the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments.
This week has witnessed renewed calls for Garcia’s full report to be made public.