Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Beckenbauer plays the long game


The future of English football may have received an unlikely boost – in the form of one its greatest foes.

Franz Beckenbauer has helped spearhead Gazprom’s campaign to develop grassroots football, with the Germany legend fronting the ‘Football For Friendship’ Forum. Gazprom for Children’s CSR programme operates across Europe, with Gazprom spending more than £550m on improving youth sport at a grassroots level since 2007.

“I think that ‘Football For Friendship’ is a wonderful event and I’m very proud to be global ambassador of this project,” said Beckenbauer. “It’s great to work with the kids and the programme that Gazprom has created is fantastic. I am very, very happy to be the one to front it. After all, there is no better way to make friends than through sport.”

With British football getting a boost from the campaign, it is hoped the Home Nations can emulate the success of Beckenbauer’s beloved Bayern Munich, who continue to reap the benefits of an eye-wateringly strong youth set-up.

“I think what has helped us is our academies and youngsters,” said Beckenbauer, the only man to win the World Cup as a player, captain and manager. “Schweinsteiger, Götze, Reus, Neuer, all these young players all came from the academies.

“When I was at Olympique Marseille for a year in 1990, after the World Cup, France made a bill that all professional teams had to have an academy. All these players, Zidane and Dugarry, won the World Cup eight years later and they had come from the academies.

“Teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and the German national team are on their way, maybe next year on their way to Brazil to win the World Cup. They have a good chance. That means that German football is really on top, so that’s a good opportunity to show this standard to the world.”



Luis Suarez talks English football and the toughest PL defenders

He's a lover, not a biter

19 Oct 2016

Gary Lineker talks crisps, Rooney and "Sh*t on pitch"

Crisp don Gary Lineker reminisces about the time Diego Maradona nearly fell off a balcony

by Alex Christian
19 Oct 2016

Park Ji-sung now plays for De Montfort University's student side

And can't even prevent them from getting utterly drubbed

by Tristan Cross
14 Oct 2016

Watch San Marino players celebrate first WCQ away goal in 15 years

Ecstasy in Oslo

by Dave Fawbert
12 Oct 2016

The first-ever green card has been awarded in a football match

But how do you get one?

by Dave Fawbert
10 Oct 2016

Football's wonderkids that never made it

The prodigal youngsters that left us boy wondering

by Tristan Cross
05 Oct 2016

Celtic’s 13 year old wonderkid is already better than you'll ever be

Karamoko Dembele made his debut for the U20s last night

04 Oct 2016

The new FIFA president wants to ruin the World Cup

He might have just f*cked up massively

by David Cornish
04 Oct 2016

Sam Allardyce was foolish but he shouldn’t have been sacked

The England mess leaves more questions than answers

by Dave Fawbert
28 Sep 2016

England manager Sam Allardyce leaves after one game in charge

Farewell, Big Sam, we hardly knew ye

27 Sep 2016