In his prime, German legend Franz Beckenbauer was considered the finest player ever to grace a football field. Although a sweeper, he was nonetheless a dominant figure in the field and stood head and shoulders above his peers due to his elegance and leadership qualities that shone through in every match.
The man had skill, vision and the ability to pass the ball in a crowded defence either with the instep or by using the scuffing tactic to direct the ball to a team-mate where mere mortals would have struggled to see that tiny gap, little wonder he came to be known as Der Kaiser!
Beckenbauer remains one of the few individuals to have won the World Cup both as a player and later as a coach. He has won numerous Global awards for his contribution to the beautiful game and at one stage, was not only President of the German Football Federation, but went on to become chairman of their successful 2006 FIFA World Bid and later Organizing Committee.
This week, under pressure from FBI investigators into the corruption scandal sweeping FIFA, the highly respected Beckenbauer partially admitted that Germany “might” have bought votes to edge out South Africa in that highly contentious 2006 World Cup bid where Charles Dempsey abstained from voting.
Beckenbauer admitted to investigators that he made a “mistake” in the bidding process that resulted in Germany beating South Africa 12-11 to secure the rights to host the 2006 World Cup. But a German magazine – Der Spiegel – accuses the German bidding Committee of using a slush fund to buy votes.
We respect Beckenbauer, but Der Kaiser needs to come clean and stop insulting our intelligence. It does not help his image to be economical with the truth and only partially admit that in “order to get a subsidy from FIFA”, they went ahead with the proposal from the FIFA Finance committee to do what in today’s eyes would have been rejected.
Even in the year 2000 Der Kaiser, handing €6.7-million to people that are supposed to decide which country should host the next World Cup is totally wrong, period. Accepting responsibility is very noble of him but trying to put a spin on the “mistake” is stretching it a bit far.
The same applies to former French dribbling wizard Michel Platini who is also trying to squirm his way out of allegations that he received a pay-off from Sepp Blatter, which Platini claims without batting an eyelid that it was for a job he did for the beleaguered Swiss but for which he was only paid nine years later!
If FIFA believes his tall tale and allow him to stand for the Presidential elections, then they may as well allow Chuck Blazer and even Jack Warner to stand. It would be a farcical affair if Platini, who is also (just like Beckenbauer) denying any wrongdoing despite mounting evidence to the contrary, is allowed to stand.
Musa Bility, the President of the Liberian Football Association failed to pass a FIFA Ethics Committee Credibility test and has taken the decision makers to the Court of Arbitration in an attempt to force them to allow him to contest the elections.
Although Bility had initially claimed that he would not stand against South African Tokyo Sexwale or give the impression that Africa was divided, he now wants to fight the Ethics Committee to clear his name and then throw his weight behind Sexwale.