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Germany ready for 2006 World Cup

Last updated on: December 03, 2003 10:56 IST

FIFA and the German committee organising the 2006 World Cup have finally agreed ticket prices for the finals which will be announced on Wednesday.

Franz Beckenbauer, told a news conference on Tuesday: "There have been days of conflict between the local organising committee and FIFA but I am pleased to say they are now over.

"All the ticket prices have been resolved and we have overcome another hurdle and are looking forward to 2006."

The countdown clock in Frankfurt was showing 920 days to kickoff on Tuesday and Beckenbauer said that apart from signing up another two local sponsors to make their full complement of 21, there were no major organisational problems.

"We are looking forward to Friday's preliminary round draw," he said.

"That will be the first time the worldwide public will see what we have been doing for the finals and I am sure they will get the impression that we will be very good hosts.

"I have to say that right now, with two and a half years still to go before the finals, there are no great problems, that might be boring, but it is the truth.

"Of course there is nervousness, a tingle down the spine, but we are absolutely confident that we will have the best World Cup possible.

"We may live in difficult economic times, but there are many sponsors who want to be associated with the World Cup, and I am sure the event will be a success for FIFA and for Germany. And even if we do not find the last two sponsors, then in terms of budget we can cope."

FIFA's 15 worldwide sponsors are paying 40 million euros ($47.78 million) each for the privilege, while the local, German sponsors are paying 13 million euros ($15.53 million) which currently leaves a shortfall of 26 million euros ($31.06 million), but with more than two years ago, Beckenbauer stressed this was not a major problem at this stage.

MATCH SCHEDULE

As well as publishing their ticket prices on Wednesday, the Organising Committee will also unveil the 2006 mascot and issue the match schedule for the finals which are due to be held between June 9 and July 9 2006.

The opening match will be in Munich and the final is scheduled for Berlin.

Friday's draw for the qualifying stage of the competition -- which has already begun in South America, Asia and Africa -- will be attended by around 3,500 guests although star turn Sting has pulled out of the event and will be replaced by German rock star Herbert Groenemeyer.

Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, who took charge of the 2002 World Cup final, will help draw the European qualifying groups along with Germany's six-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher.

In all, 198 out of FIFA's membership of 204 have entered the qualifying competition. Because the qualifiers have already started 175 will be involved in Friday's draw which is being shown live on television to more than 100 countries.

Mike Collett
Source:
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