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Rummenigge defends Beckenbauer, calls Bayern Munich friendlies 'normal'

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has defended Franz Beckenbauer over recent corruption allegations and said the friendlies he organised for the club in 2000 were "totally normal."

Beckenbauer, the head of the organising committee for the World Cup in Germany in 2006, is facing a series of allegations over the voting for the tournament, which took place in 2000.

The scrutiny on the honorary Bayern president increased this week after it emerged he had signed a contract with former FIFA Executive Committee member Jack Warner promising "various services," which joint acting DFB president Reinhard Rauball said amounted to "attempted bribery."

The 70-year-old, who was Bayern's president at the time of the World Cup vote, first came under serious pressure when Der Spiegel claimed last month that he had made a €6.7 million payment to FIFA that was used to buy the votes of four Asian members of the Executive Committee

Beckenbauer has said that payment was a "mistake" but insisted it was used only to facilitate the release of a FIFA grant.

The president of the Maltese FA, Norman Darmanin Demajo, has also raised questions over the legitimacy of a friendly played between Bayern and the Malta national side that Beckenbauer was said to be "directly involved" in organising.

Franz Beckenbauer and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge were president and vice-president at Bayern in 2000.

Speaking at a PR event in Munich on Wednesday, though, Rummenigge said Beckenbauer still has Bayern's full support.

"When you have a friend in difficult times, you have to stand by his side," Rummenigge said. "For FC Bayern, Beckenbauer will remain Beckenbauer."

He said Bayern would not have been able to build their Allianz Arena stadium without Beckenbauer and added: "My wish for the DFB is for more sensitive treatment of Beckenbauer. The DFB owes a lot to him."

Rummenigge, who was Bayern's vice-president in 2000, also insisted the controversial friendlies were above board.

As well as the Malta game -- for which the Maltese FA received $250,000 -- Bayern also agreed friendlies in Thailand, Tunisia and Trinidad & Tobago ahead of the World Cup vote, with all TV rights held by Swiss TV rights agency CWL.

According to reports in Suddeutsche Zeitung and Manager Magazin in 2003, former FIFA Executive Committee members Worawi Makudi, of Thailand, and Warner, of Trinidad & Tobago, were contract partners of CWL.

However, Rummenigge said: "Those were totally normal friendlies for which we received market-based fees, and in the case of Malta also the travelling expenses."

Bayern did not ultimately play the agreed friendly in Trinidad & Tobago, citing time constraints.

The Times of Malta and Inside World Football reported in on Wednesday that Maltese police raided the offices of the FA for documents on Monday in response to the questions over the friendly, which was played in 2001.

Former Maltese FA president Joseph Mifsud, who was alleged to have agreed the friendly at a secret meeting with Beckenbauer, told a court on Monday that he "could not remember" why he took four months to reveal the details of the contract signed with CWL.

The Times of Malta reported that Dr Mifsud, a member of the FIFA Executive Committee, said he could not remember if Beckenbauer was at the meeting but that there was no link between the game and the 2006 World Cup vote.

He said the money was a "present" from CWL and that the sum was not "extraordinary." He added that the English national team had paid more for a friendly between the two nations in June 2000, when England was also vying for the right to host the 2006 World Cup.


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