In a shocking development, FIFA announced today that former Executive Committee member and current Football Committee member Franz Beckenbauer, has been suspended from all footballing activities worldwide for 90 days, effective immediately.
Beckenbauer, a two-time European Footballer of the Year and widely acknowledged as the greatest German player ever, was on FIFA's ExCo at the time of the Qatar and Russia World Cup vote in December of 2010.
According to Garcia, Beckenbauer refused ''repeated requests for his assistance, including requests that he provide information during an in-person interview or in response to written questions provided in both English and German''
FIFA's official statement adds:
"The decision was taken...on the grounds that a breach of the Code of Ethics appears to have been committed and a decision on the main issue may not be taken early enough."
Garcia has initiated a separate investigation of Beckenbauer - who headed the Germany 2006 bid committee and subsequently headed the organizing committee - to be chaired by Investigations Committee member Vanessa Allard, a highly respected attorney from Trinidad & Tobago.
The new FIFA Ethics rules give Garcia's committee broad independence to follow whatever investigatory paths they choose, and allows them to suspend anyone they feel is not being entirely forthcoming.
Furthermore, pending the outcome of Allard's investigation, Der Kaiser could be - indeed very likely is - looking at a much harsher punishment.
Among other things, Beckenbauer, who is currently in Brazil, is free to purchase game tickets and sit in the stands but may not attend official events or watch games from the VIP boxes of any footballing entity including FIFA, UEFA or the DFB.
FIFA President-in-Perpetuity Sepp Blatter has said repeatedly that the main reason Qatar won the vote was France and Germany, ie. Platini and Beckenbauer. While the former continues to deny that his government put pressure on him to vote for the desert World Cup in return for huge commercial contracts for French firms, Beckenbauer has remained mum on rumors that he and his family were granted a series of big-money "consultancy" contracts as payment for his vote.
In response to the suspension, Der Kaiser says that Garcia sent him a questionnaire in English - a language in which is he fluent - but that he returned it, requesting that the queries be translated into German and, according to him, he never heard back.
The Ethics committee says it only submitted the written requests - and Garcia says he did in fact resubmit the questions in German - after Der Kaiser refused repeated requests to meet in person with investigators.
It looks a lot like Beckenbauer, in an effort to avoid perjuring himself, has underestimated Garcia's resolve.