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Soccer’s Beckenbauer Undergoes Heart Surgery

  • Associated Press

FILE - Franz Beckenbauer, shown in 2006 when he led soccer's World Cup organizing committee for Germany, on Saturday had heart surgery planned weeks ago, Bild newspaper reports.

FILE - Franz Beckenbauer, shown in 2006 when he led soccer's World Cup organizing committee for Germany, on Saturday had heart surgery planned weeks ago, Bild newspaper reports.

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 Monday in the mass-circulation Bild newspaper.

Bild said the surgery took place 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, formally opened last November but confirmed only on Thursday, 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 Fairytale."

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

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

The four are suspected of fraud, money laundering, criminal mismanagement and misappropriation relating to a payment of 6.7 million euros ($7.3 million) to FIFA – soccer’s international governing body – in 2005.

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 organizing committee.

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