Football: Two Euro legends Platini, Beckenbauer in fix over Fifa corruption scandal

A file picture dated Aug 26, 2007 shows (from left) Uefa president Michel Platini, outgoing Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer in happier times as they turn up for a gala match in Switzerland.
A file picture dated Aug 26, 2007 shows (from left) Uefa president Michel Platini, outgoing Fifa president Sepp Blatter and Germany's Franz Beckenbauer in happier times as they turn up for a gala match in Switzerland.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Beckenbauer admits mistake in 2006 Cup hosting bid, Platini fails in appeal of ban

LONDON • Franz Beckenbauer and Michel Platini, two of the most eminent figures in football history, have encountered fresh ignominy as Europe look to a new candidate to lead Fifa from the turmoil and scandal of recent times.

Beckenbauer, who led West Germany to the World Cup as captain and coach, admitted on Monday that he was responsible for the "mistake" that has left him and the country's 2006 World Cup hosting bid under investigation by Fifa.

Platini suffered another blow when he failed with a first appeal against his 90-day ban from all football-related activities, leading Uefa to nominate Gianni Infantino, his right-hand man, as an alternative candidate for the Fifa presidency.

Platini had long been viewed as the man most likely to follow Sepp Blatter as Fifa president, largely owing to the experience and respect gained over the course of a glorious playing career.

He has seen support - from several associations across Europe and beyond - fade away while he looks to clear his name after an investigation into an alleged "disloyal payment" of £1.35 million (S$2.9 million) that he received from Fifa as part of a verbal agreement with Blatter in 2011.

Platini, who denies any wrongdoing, submitted his candidacy to Fifa before Monday's deadline.

However, it remains to be seen whether he will be cleared in time to stand for election in February and, if so, whether he will retain widespread support.

His first appeal was rejected by Fifa's ethics committee on Monday, with his lawyers saying that they are "convinced the appeals will eventually show his complete integrity and restore all his rights".

Uefa's decision to nominate Infantino represents a contingency plan - in case Platini is not cleared to stand for election - and a lack of support for the other candidates, such as Sheikh Salman Ibrahim Al-Khalifa of Bahrain, Prince Ali Al-Hussein of Jordan, Jerome Champagne, Tokyo Sexwale, Musa Bility and David Nakhid.

Sheikh Salman's bid has suffered a blow after claims that he was involved in the torture of footballers in 2011 when he was head of the Bahrain Football Association.

The Bahraini royal and head of the Asian Football Confederation came out yesterday to deny the allegations. "These are false, nasty lies that have been repeated again and again," he told the BBC.

"I cannot deny something that I haven't done. Such accusations are not just damaging, it's really hurting. Some people have agenda on their table."

The German Football Federation (DFB), meanwhile, is continuing its probe into the process that led to its hosting of the 2006 World Cup Finals.

Germany saw off competition from South Africa, England and Morocco in July 2000 to host the 2006 tournament.

However Der Spiegel, the German newspaper, claimed this month that the successful bid involved a "slush fund" designed to secure the votes of certain Fifa executive committee members.

The DFB, along with Beckenbauer, has vehemently denied any allegations of "vote-buying".

However, fresh details emerged on Monday when he admitted his responsibility for the mistakes made by the 2006 World Cup organising committee.

"In order to get a subsidy from Fifa, those involved went ahead with a proposal from the Fifa finance committee which, in today's eyes, should have been rejected," Beckenbauer said.

"I bear the responsibility of this mistake."

THE TIMES, LONDON,

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2015, with the headline 'TWO EURO LEGENDS IN A FIX'. Print Edition | Subscribe