Franz Beckenbauer, now 73, was head of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee and was also being investigated. Photo: Ina Fassbender/Reuters

BERLIN  A former president of the German football association (DFB) criticized Swiss prosecutors on Sunday after announcing that the investigation against Franz Beckenbauer will be separated from the probe into others accused of wrongdoing over the 2006 World Cup.

Former DFB head Theo Zwanzinger, along with another former president Wolfgang Niersbach and two other functionaries, are accused of fraud over the awarding of the tournament to Germany. No charges have yet been brought.

German football great Beckenbauer, now 73, was head of the 2006 World Cup organizing committee and was also being investigated but the Swiss Attorney General's Office has said his case was now being dealt with "separately" without giving further details.

Zwanziger fears Beckenbauer, who denies criminal wrongdoing, could end up being absolved of responsibility. He feels the Swiss probe which started in 2015 has been a "nonsense" from the outset.

"They have been running against a wall at high speed for quite some time - and the wall wins at the end," Zwanziger told dpa.

The Swiss prosecutors, investigating because world governing body FIFA is based in Zurich, said the presumption of innocence still holds.

Zwanziger said the Swiss need to make an initial ruling by April 27 next year, the 15th anniversary of the transfer of 6.7 million euros (7.5 million dollars) from the DFB via FIFA to former Adidas boss Robert Louis-Dreyfus, which is at the centre of the investigation.

The sum had been declared by the DFB as a contribution to a World Cup cultural programme that ultimately did not exist. Investigators are probing if the money was instead used to buy hosting votes.

dpa