FRANKFURT: Franz Beckenbauer has contributed his last column to German newspaper Bild after 34 years and reiterated his denial of any wrongdoing in leading Germany’s bidding and hosting of the 2006 World Cup writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Beckenbauer, Germany’s greatest player and the only man to both captain and manage a World Cup-winning team in 1974 and 1990 respectively, is the subject of ongoing investigations in both Germany and Switzerland arising out of cash scandal which has rocked the DFB.
At the end of his last column before retirement, Beckenbauer said: “The awarding of the World Cup to Germany was not bought, to the best of my knowledge. We did not want to bribe anyone and we did not bribe anyone.
“I am always being asked why, publicly, I do not go into more detail. But the answer is simple: I can not what I wish until the German and Swiss authorities, with whom I am of course cooperating, have ended their investigations.”
In the past week Wolfgang Niersbach, who was one of Beckenbauer’s senior officials in 2006, announced his resignation as a member of the governing councils of FIFA and UEFA after losing an appeal against a one-year ban from football imposed in connection with the scandal.
Beckenbauer had been contributing a column to Bild for 34 years but has cut down on all his work after a difficult couple of years in his personal life with the death of a son and then his own need to undergo heart bypass surgery.
He said: “Today, thanks to the skill of the doctors, I am doing well again. I have changed my lifestyle a little and am practising a lot of sport again. To my friend Günter Netzer , who had a similar operation just before me, I recently joked that we are training more today than we ever did during our playing careers. Neither of us were world champions in training!
“Now I am spending much more time at home and want to enjoy family life to the fullest.”
Beckenbauer lives in Kitzbuhel (Austria) with his third wife, Heidi, and their two teenage children.