Beckenbauer Endorses Businessman Sexwale For FIFA Presidency

Written by Peter Pedroncelli

South African businessman Tokyo Sexwale has received the support of German football legend and sports administrator Franz Beckenbauer should he decide to enter the presidential race at world football’s governing body FIFA, as a new president is set to be elected early next year.

Current FIFA president Sepp Blatter took the decision to step down as the head of the organisation in June, four days after he was re-elected to the post, following the ongoing fraud investigation into FIFA which saw the arrest of 14 officials and marketing executives by US authorities in May on the basis of corruption charges worth an alleged $150m.

Bribery allegations involving the 2010 World Cup which was hosted by South Africa, as well as money laundering and fraud surrounding the 2018 and 2022 tournaments to be held in Russia and Qatar respectively were thrown into the spotlight.

After the arrests many called for Blatter’s resignation, but the Swiss, who has been in charge of FIFA since 1998, took some weeks to decide on his eventual course of action. He remains in the position until a new president can be elected in February.

Sexwale Considers FIFA Presidency

In a surprising move some months ago, a spokesperson from the South African’s Global Watch foundation, Peter-Paul Ngwenya revealed that Sexwale may be willing to throw his hat in the ring alongside other contenders for the presidency from around the world, and now the man who organised the 2006 World Cup in Germany has given his endorsement to the South African businessman.

Addressing the media at his annual Camp Beckenbauer sports conference in Kitzbuehel, Austria, the former German national team captain and coach who was also a Fifa executive committee member said that the German Football Association (DFB) understand “the quality of the South Africans and the quality of Tokyo Sexwale”.

He added that he would expect his association to appreciate the qualities of Sexwale, and in so doing they would likely back his presidency.

“I certainly believe that the German Football Association would support his candidacy,” added the man affectionately known as Der Kaiser, according to TimesLive.

Beckenbauer believes that Sexwale would be a good fit for FIFA due to his background in politics.

“What is to blame? Is it the people? Of course. Or the system? That’s also possible. At some point there will be the opportunity to appoint a president from an external source – someone from economics, someone from politics,” he added.

“That is why I refer to Tokyo because he is someone different, who has a political past, but he also knows his way around sport. He has the smell of neutrality and that’s why I think he would be a good solution,” Beckenbauer concluded.

Sexwale previously served on FIFA’s anti-discrimination task force and was a founding member of the Makana FA, which was the unofficial football organisation for apartheid-era prisoners on Robben Island, where he spent 13 years as a prisoner alongside good friend Nelson Mandela.

Other Candidates

Some of the other candidates who have made their intentions known concerning the presidency include UEFA president Michel Platini, Jordan’s Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, South Korean Chung Mong-joon, former Brazil footballer Zico and Liberian FA president Musa Bility confirming their availability for office ahead of the February presidential election.

Platini seemed to be the favourite to replace Blatter until recently, but his integrity has been in the spotlight following the revelation of a $2 million payment made to him by FIFA in 2011 for what was described as consulting work between 1998 and 2002.

Sexwale is expected to be a popular candidate amongst African football associations, and with the backing of Beckenbauer, he will certainly look a great deal more appealing to many European associations too.