Beckenbauer apologizes over World Cup remarks

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Franz Beckenbauer apologised to South Africa's World Cup organisers for his recent comments.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:37 IST
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At Tuesday's press conference in Johannesburg, Local Organising Committee Chairman Irvin Khoza read from the letter to the committee's president Danny Jordaan, in which Franz Beckenbauer downplayed comments that he had made about South Africa's progress in preparing for the 2010 World Cup. "The press coverage from an interview around this sponsorship appointment has quite surprised me. I replied in very few words to a question regarding the assessment of developments in South Africa that I have learnt from other media reports that there are certain difficulties relating to stadia constructions,” said Irvin Khoza, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee. “In no point whatsoever did I mention that Germany could be a substitute organiser. On the contrary, it is my own and my colleagues understanding that it is most important that the up coming World Cup in South Africa is a success. Again, I am very sorry that these statements were falsely portrayed and I shall do everything in my power to support the World Cup in South Africa 2010,” he added. FIFA General Secretary Urs Linsi then pledged the full support of world football's governing body. "We are all really well prepared and we are well prepared to take this challenge together as one team and I would be personally quite happy if, from the media side, that you, that we can convince you that we are positive. We have no doubts that the World Cup 2010 will be played in South Africa and it will be,” said Linsi, FIFA Secretary General. Although doubts remain over preparations for 2010, the Local Organising Committee and FIFA insist that the show will go on. South Africa have been offered the chance to make history as the first African nation to host a World Cup and the powers that be are determined to fulfill this great opportunity. (AP)