Fifa corruption scandal

Open-heart surgery for former soccer great Franz Beckenbauer

German newspaper Bild says 70-year-old – who is the target of a probe into suspected corruption around the 2006 World Cup – received at least one bypass in an operation

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 12:19am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 September, 2016, 12:19am

Former soccer great Franz Beckenbauer has had open-heart surgery and received at least one bypass, according to a report in a German newspaper.

Beckenbauer’s management team has not responded to a request for comment on his health following a report on Monday in the mass-circulation Bild newspaper.

Bild said the surgery took place on Saturday and had been planned for several weeks.

The 70-year-old Beckenbauer left for a clinic in southern Germany on Friday, one day after his home in Salzburg, Austria had been searched by authorities acting on a request by Swiss prosecutors. Beckenbauer is among several people under a Swiss criminal probe into suspected corruption around the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

The Swiss criminal case has caused turmoil at the soccer federation of world champion Germany and tarnished the reputation of a World Cup that was a popular success. In Germany, the 2006 tournament has become known as its “Summer Fairy Tale”.

Slap on the wrist: German great Franz Beckenbauer warned over Fifa investigation

It also threatens to wreck the reputation of Beckenbauer, arguably the nation’s greatest ever player. The former Bayern Munich and New York Cosmos defender captained and coached West Germany to World Cup titles, then organised the tournament.

Switzerland’s attorney general’s office opened criminal proceedings against Beckenbauer and three other German members of the 2006 World Cup organising committee.

The four are suspected of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation relating to a payment of 6.7 million (HK$58 million) to Fifa in 2005.

Noses in the trough: Sepp Blatter and two disgraced deputies paid themselves US$80 million over five years, Fifa says

Beckenbauer’s lawyers said he was cooperating with “all authorities involved”.

Beckenbauer headed his country’s bid to win the hosting rights in 2000 in a vote of the Fifa executive committee. Germany won 12-11 in a final-round vote against a South Africa bid backed by Nelson Mandela. Beckenbauer then chaired the organising committee.