Beckenbauer left FIFA role for family

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Franz Beckenbauer has explained why he has decided to step down from FIFA's Executive Committee next year, saying he does not want to miss out on seeing his children grow up.

The 65-year-old announced yesterday that he would not be standing for re-election next March when his four-year term comes to an end.

He said he was stepping down for "personal and family reasons", and he has explained in the Bild newspaper precisely what that means.

"If I were to stand for another four years, then I would be almost 70 at the end of the term," he said.

"My son Joel would be already 14 and my daughter Francesca 11.

"I would have once again missed seeing my children grow up. I missed that with my first children and I am not making this mistake again."

Beckenbauer stepped down from his position as Bayern Munich president just before his 65th birthday and is now keen on settling into his retirement by relinquishing his FIFA and UEFA responsibilities.

"I just feel that I don't have the fire burning inside me anymore," he explained.

"It was like this in 1990 when we won the World Cup. I had the best national team in the world and you don't just quit, but I had the same feeling back then as I do now.

"When you feel disinterest and grumble inside when you think that you have to go on another trip, then it's best to call it a day.

"In 2010, I spent two and a half months travelling for FIFA and UEFA and that is too much for me, I don't want that anymore."

'The Kaiser' said FIFA president Sepp Blatter had tried to convince him to stand for re-election, but that his mind had been made up.

"Not even his powers of persuasion could change my mind," he said. "I think he is really sad about it.

"He said: 'Franz, you have got to stay'. Well I will be staying in football until the end of my life.

"I have been involved for 46 years. As a player, coach, Bayern president, since 1997 for the World Cup bid and then as the Organisation Committee boss.

"I could certainly also have become UEFA president after 2006 if I had wanted to, but I didn't want to.

"Now is time to let it go, so I am letting it go.

"I will carry on a few jobs, like a TV expert or column writer, but the rest of my time will be spent playing golf, walking in the mountains and looking after my children."

And his wife Heidi should be delighted, even if Beckenbauer insists he had taken the decision by himself.

"The decision has been brewing for a while," he said. "I just want more time for my family and to be able to work more intensely on my foundation.

"Heidi never told me 'you must stay at home', although she will obviously be happy that I am at home a bit more in future."