Beckenbauer Rejects Berlin's World Cup Offer
Franz Beckenbauer, head of Germany's World Cup bid committee, rejected on Tuesday a demand by Berlin's mayor that the German capital be allowed to stage both the opening game of the 2006 World Cup and the closing one.
"I don't want to anticipate anything but the opening and closing games have never been played in the same stadium and they won't be in 2006 either. We will divide things up nicely," said Beckenbauer.
Berlin's Olympic stadium, whose extensive modernization and renovation began last week, has been designated as the venue for the final, while Munich's Olympic stadium is likely to get the tournament opener.
Beckenbauer has also renewed his criticism of the Frankfurt-based satirical magazine Titanic which faxed hoax bribes to FIFA delegates at last week's Zurich conference.
"You can't get any more primitive than that," said Beckenbauer. "It was a really bad joke because the bribery letter was initially taken at face value abroad. This act of stupidity really left a bitter after taste for us amid our success."
FIFA and the German Football Federation are looking into whether they can take legal steps against Titanic.
"I don't think there is any way around it. FIFA and those who voted for us expect it," Beckenbauer said.
Beckenbauer rejected moves though to have him take over as German Football Federation (DFB) president as well. Current DFB boss Egidius Braun is preparing for a heart bypass operation and plans to step down in April leaving a vacuum at the top, which VfB Stuttgart president Gerhard Mayer-Vorfelder is primed to fill.
"A double function as president of the DFB and president of the World Cup organizing committee - that's just not on. It's so much work. Both are actually full time jobs. You can't share them," added Beckenbauer – (AFP)
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