Beckenbauer to attend Bayern’s clash with Eintracht

Franz Beckenbauer was invited to the game by Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as part of an eight-person delegation that will also include former club president Uli Hoeness. — Reuters pic
Franz Beckenbauer was invited to the game by Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as part of an eight-person delegation that will also include former club president Uli Hoeness. — Reuters pic

BERLIN, May 22 — Franz Beckenbauer has been invited to watch Bayern Munich’s behind-closed-doors home match against Eintracht Frankfurt this weekend, he said on Friday.

“I’m leaving my house for the first time in a long time,” 74-year-old Beckenbauer told German daily Bild.

Beckenbauer, whose trial on corruption charges linked to the 2006 World Cup ended without a verdict late last month, was invited to the game by Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge as part of an eight-person delegation that will also include former club president Uli Hoeness.

Nicknamed “Kaiser”, Beckenbauer was teammates with both Hoeness and Rummenigge when Bayern dominated European football, winning three straight European Cups in the 1970s.

Beckenbauer, whose health has deteriorated in recent years, will have to wear a face mask and sit several seats away from others in the delegation, as the Bundesliga undertakes its second round of matches since coming back from its coronavirus-enforced hiatus.

“I will be able to concentrate on the match and enjoy it. Otherwise I’d be asked all the time: ‘Franz, what do you think about that move?’,” he said.

“I much prefer being able to watch the match without having to talk all the time.”

Beckenbauer had been on trial in Switzerland after being accused of making payments to former Fifa executive Mohamed bin Hammam in 2005, allegedly for helping Germany win the right to host the following year’s World Cup finals.

Germany beat the pre-vote favourites South Africa 12-11 in the ballot, and Beckenbauer — who headed the organising committee for the 2006 tournament — denied he paid money to anyone to buy votes.

Bin Hammam admitted in 2018 that he had received a €6.7 million (RM32 million) payment from Germany but claimed it was not a bribe linked to the awarding of the World Cup.

The five-year-long trial of Beckenbauer and three other men was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic and ended after the statute of limitations expired.

In Switzerland, criminal proceedings concerning a fraud allegation must take place within 15 years. Because Beckenbauer’s case dates back to an incident in 2005, courts no longer have jurisdiction over the case. — AFP

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