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Aug 11, 2014

Beckenbauer still friends with Blatter

Legendary German defender Franz Beckenbauer discusses how the New York Cosmos helped popularize soccer in the U.S. and how much the sport has grown stateside.

Franz Beckenbauer has insisted he remains friends with FIFA president Sepp Blatter despite an apparent falling out over the summer.

In June, the Germany legend was provisionally banned by FIFA from taking part in any football-related activity at any level for 90 days after failing to cooperate with an investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup bid.

When Beckenbauer, a member of the FIFA executive committee at the time of the controversial awarding of the two World Cup finals to Russia and Qatar in 2018 and 2022 respectively, answered the questions from FIFA chief investigator Michael Garcia later that month, the world football's governing body lifted the sanction.

Still, Beckenbauer refused to attend the World Cup final in Brazil last month and followed Germany's victory at home.

"I don't want to see some of the people there. I will watch it with my family, dressed with a hat, jersey, scarf and all of that. It's just perfect for me," he told the DFB's official website ahead of the final.

In late July, the Bayern Munich honorary president spearheaded the German champions' U.S. tour in his function as the club's "international brand ambassador."

At the weekend, Beckenbauer was seen side by side with Blatter at the "Sepp-Blatter-Turnier" in Ulrichen, Switzerland.

"We've been friends for over 40 years now," Beckenbauer told Radio Rottu Oberwallis. "It was a bit unfortunate for both sides. I also made mistakes. Of course, I have expected something different from FIFA, but you exchange opinions and you argue about it.

"It's a bit different than with other commissions. The ethic commission is independent and the FIFA president has little influence. He was also in the middle of preparing the World Cup. I do feel sympathetic about it."

Beckenbauer added that he hopes the investigation "passes off at some point" and that "a good solution" can be found.

Speaking to Sky, Beckenbauer added. "If I had answered those questions, we could have done without all of that."

And in an interview with Bild am Sonntag Beckenbauer said: "The FIFA has overreacted [by imposing the provisional ban]."

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