Boris Becker backs Franz Beckenbauer in World Cup graft row

Berlin: German tennis legend Boris Becker on Friday lent his support to Franz Beckenbauer, who is under pressure over corruption allegations surrounding Germany's hosting of the 2006 World Cup.

"One knows who his friends are in difficult times! Franz Beckenbauer is one of the most important Germans... I worship him as 'Kaiser'!", tweeted Becker. Beckenbauer, 70, headed up Germany's organising committee for the 2006 World Cup finals, the awarding of which has become the subject of a police investigation here after magazine Spiegel made allegations that FIFA votes were bought in 2000.

At the centre of the scandal is a 6.7 million-euro ($7.2m) payment, which is alleged to have been used to purchase the support of FIFA's executive committee. The scandal took a dramatic twist last week when police carried out raids at the Frankfurt headquarters of the German Football Association (DFB) and led to Wolfgang Niersbach resigning as DFB president on Monday.

'The Kaiser' has remained silent publicly, saying he reserved his comments for investigators. But on Tuesday, he came under renewed pressure when the DFB confirmed reports of a draft agreement, signed in part by Beckenbauer, which daily Bild claims was aimed at buying "votes for the German bid" in July 2000 - just four days before Germany was awarded the 2006 World Cup.

At a press conference on Friday following talks with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the DFB to "shed light on everything that happened in a transparent manner".

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