German football legend Franz Beckenbauer’s trial on corruption charges has been ended without a verdict being reached.
The trial, which has been ongoing for five years in Switzerland, was suspended due to the Covid-19 crisis and cannot now be re-started as the statute of limitations has expired.
Beckenbauer, 74, who won the World Cup as a player in 1974 and coach in 1990, was one of four people investigated over suspected corruption linked to the 2006 tournament.
Beckenbauer was the head of the World Cup organising committee when Germany were awarded the 2006 tournament by 12 votes to 11 over South Africa.
He was accused of making two payments totalling £8.4m to former FIFA executive Mohamed bin Hammam in 2005, a charge he has always denied. The maximum time in Switzerland within which criminal proceedings must be executed on a fraud allegation is 15 years.
A FIFA statement said it was "deeply disappointed" the trial would not go ahead.
"The fact that the case has now ended without a result of any kind is very worrying, not only for football, but for the administration of justice in Switzerland," the statement added.