BERLIN: Two of the biggest personalities in German football – Bayern Munich’s honorary president Franz Beckenbauer and chairman Kalle Rummenigge – have launched a twin-pronged attack on FIFA president Sepp Blatter writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Their salvos, on different issues, follow a reiteration by German federation president Theo Zwanziger, of his continued opposition to the award by Blatter’s executive committee last December of the 2022 World Cup finals to Qatar.
Beckenbauer, who stepped down from the FIFA exco after only one term last June, has come out as an opponent of the introduction of goal-line technology which is being considered by the law-making International Football Board. This development has the reluctant approval of Blatter who had been firmly opposed to technology until cornered by events at the 2010 World Cup when England’s Frank Lampard had a ‘goal’ wrongly refused against Germany in a second round tie.
Beckenbauer, the only man to have won the World Cup as manager and captain, has lined up behind Michel Platini. The UEFA president is the most powerful advocate of the alternative system of goal-line assistants being used in European club competitions.
Beckenbauer said: “I agree with Michel Platini. The extra-assistants system has been tested and has shown itself to be positive. Football is a simple game with simple rules which arouses enormous passion. We should not change this.”
Significantly, Beckenbauer is chairman of the Football 2014 Task Force which was charged, by Blatter, with coming up with ideas to make World Cup finals football more attractive.
Rummenigge’s attack on Blatter was concerned not with technology but with FIFA governance and the issues of corruption.
Rummenigge, speaking on German television, said: “I believe Sepp is like an eel, who you can never really grasp. It will be difficult to convince him to make room either for others or perhaps also for a new start.”
Rummenigge also said he believes world football’s governing body FIFA is “neither transparent nor democratic”. He added: “It’s a pity that there are such relics left which are led like a dictatorship.”
One of the criticism of FIFA structures by the governance consultant Mark Pieth, is that there is no time-limit for serving members of the all-powerful, governing executive committee.
DFB president Zwanziger joined the exco last June as a UEFA representative, in succession to Beckenbauer. He is a declared opponent of the 2022 World Cup award to Qatar, and has been handed the job by Blatter of leading a revision of FIFA statutes.
Recently Zwanziger announced his intention of ‘clearing the decks’ by quitting the DFB next autumn. Contenders to succeed him are the former Stuttgart chairman Erwin Staudt and the DFB’s own communications director Wolfgang Niersbach.