DUSSELDORF: As World Cup chief organiser, Franz Beckenbauer flew around the world welcoming each and every participant while discovering his heart for footballing diplomacy.
Now the “kaiser” is about to begin a new and unfamiliar task on the international stage.
On Friday at the congress of the European body UEFA here, he seems certain to be elected into the executive committee of football’s world governing body FIFA, as UEFA representative.
“It will be an honour for me to represent German football in FIFA,” the 61-year-old former playing great and coach says.
However, for the first time in his distinguished career in and around football, Beckenbauer’s obligations will no longer be those of a national German interest.
Even a Beckenbauer will have to see where he fits in among the experienced footballing functionaries sitting on the 24-strong committee.
“Let’s wait and see what the other executive committee members leave for me to do,” he said in an interview this week with the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
However, the Bayern Munich president makes no secret of his liking for “international tasks and missions” and, in particular, Africa is a continent he has grown to love.
FIFA boss Sepp Blatter has welcomed his friend on board, especially as Beckenbauer has made it clear that his disdain for office work rules out any ambitions for the presidency.
Beckenbauer, who has been accustomed to getting near 100% backing as an unchallenged candidate at Bayern Munich club elections, does not have to fear any election defeat on Friday.
The only other candidate for the executive committee post is Spain’s Angel Maria Villar Llona, who is thought almost certain to be elected UEFA vice-president and will then not have to run against Beckenbauer for the place on the FIFA committee.
That would leave Beckenbauer, as usual, in a league of his own. – dpa