Football: Over half of Germans polled think 'Kaiser Franz' should ditch his crown

More than half of Germans polled said that football legend Franz Beckenbauer (pictured, in 2006) no longer deserves his nickname of "Kaiser Franz".
More than half of Germans polled said that football legend Franz Beckenbauer (pictured, in 2006) no longer deserves his nickname of "Kaiser Franz".PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - A majority of Germans believe football legend Franz Beckenbauer no longer deserves the nickname "Kaiser Franz", given the latest revelations concerning his role in organising the scandal-hit 2006 World Cup.

According to a poll published on Wednesday on the website of German magazine Stern, 55 per cent of those surveyed believe the nickname "Kaiser" is no longer justified.

Last week, weekly magazine Der Spiegel said the 71-year-old pocketed more than €5 million (S$7.6 million) as head of the organising committee for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, which he failed to pay tax on.

The payment was reportedly taken from a donation of €12 million made by a World Cup sponsor, the gambling company Oddset.

Beckenbauer's attorneys rejected the claim, saying the earnings arose from his advertising work and was "promptly taxed at his Austrian residence".

But despite those revelations, 35 per cent of those quizzed by Stern said Beckenbauer still deserves the "Kaiser Franz" moniker.

The German media first used the nickname in the late 1960s before Beckenbauer captained West Germany to the 1974 World Cup title and managed the team which won Italia 1990.

Beckenbauer is currently under investigation by the Swiss authorities in relation to corruption allegations over the awarding of the 2006 World Cup to Germany.