ZURICH --

The FIFA ethics committee says it has opened a bribery investigation into Franz Beckenbauer and other officials from Germany's 2006 World Cup bid team.

Ethics prosecutors acted amid rising suspicion of wrongdoing linked to the winning of hosting rights in 2000.

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Beckenbauer, FIFA executive committee member Wolfgang Niersbach and other officials were targeted three weeks ago in an inquiry report by a law firm commissioned by the German soccer federation.

FIFA ethics prosecutors say they opened proceedings against Beckenbauer and three other officials linked to "possible undue payments and contracts" during the bidding process. Germany beat South Africa 12-11 in a vote to win the hosting rights.

Niersbach and one other official are under investigation for "possible failure to report" unethical conduct and conflicts of interest.