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Soccer-'World Cup is over for me', says Beckenbauer

Reuters

(Adds FIFA statement, background, changes dateline)

By Mike Collett and Erik Kirschbaum

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 14 (Reuters) - Franz Beckenbauer will skip the World Cup in Brazil after the former West Germany captain and coach was banned by FIFA for 90 days for allegedly refusing to co-operate with an investigation into World Cup bidding.

FIFA confirmed on Saturday that Beckenbauer is banned from attending any match at any level for the next 90 days, even in a private capacity. He will, however, be allowed to continue as a television pundit from a studio in Germany.

In an interview with Germany's Bild newspaper published on Saturday, Beckenbauer said he had decided to cancel his plans to attend the semi-finals and final after being banned on Friday.

FIFA said Beckenbauer had received repeated requests to provide information to an ethics committee investigation. Beckenbauer said he wanted the questions posed in German.

Beckenbauer, 68, has said he had nothing to hide from the committee and that he would answer questions in his native German language.

"The World Cup is cancelled for me," Beckenbauer said. "I'll drop the plans to travel to Brazil. I assume that I'm not welcome by FIFA any more."

Beckenbauer was on the FIFA executive committee which controversially awarded the 2022 World Cup hosting rights to Qatar.

His ban was imposed at the request of U.S. lawyer Michael Garcia, head of the investigatory chamber of FIFA's ethics committee, who is leading an investigation into alleged corruption over the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.

Alan Sullivan, the deputy chairman of FIFA's ethics committee's adjudicatory panel, said in a statement on Saturday: "Franz Beckenbauer cannot participate in any football-related activity which includes amongst other things being invited to attend or attending on a private basis any football match in any capacity."

Beckenbauer is regarded as one of the greatest players to have graced the game and is revered in Germany, where he is honorary president of Bayern Munich, and abroad.

As a player, Beckenbauer redefined the role of libero and captained the West Germany side which won the 1974 World Cup.

He led West Germany to World Cup victory as a coach in 1990 and was head of the local organising committee when Germany hosted the tournament in 2006.

Beckenbauer is an honorary president of Bayern Munich and a special adviser to FIFA's football committee. He had planned to go on Bayern Munich's pre-season tour of the United States in August. (Editing by Ed Osmond)

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