Pope Benedict XVI gives World Cup his blessing

26th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

26 October 2005, VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI wished the 2006 World Cup "the best of luck" and revealed that he will be watching "many of the games on television" during a meeting Wednesday with Organizing Committee (OC) president Franz Beckenbauer.

26 October 2005

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI wished the 2006 World Cup "the best of luck" and revealed that he will be watching "many of the games on television" during a meeting Wednesday with Organizing Committee (OC) president Franz Beckenbauer.

The short meeting between the two German nationals took place at the end of the pope's traditional mid-week general audience in St. Peter's Square, which was attended by an estimated 50,000 people.

"This was one of the most moving moments of my life," Beckenbauer declared after the meeting with his fellow Bavarian.

The two exchanged a few words face-to-face and Beckenbauer gifted the pope a pennant of the 2006 World Cup, OC vice-president Wolfgang Niersbach told Deutsche Presse-Agentur.

Benedict, a known football fan, wished the OC "lots of luck for the World Cup in Germany" and thanked him for the gift.

"I'll be watching many of the games on TV," OC officials quoted the pope as saying.

Also accompanying Beckenbauer was former Roma and Germany coach Rudi Voeller, a member of the OC delegation in his role as 2006 FIFA World Cup International Ambassador. The pope gave the Bayer Leverkusen Director of Sport a rosary as a personal gift.

Beckenbauer's visit to Rome is part of his global trip, personally welcoming the 31 countries that have qualified along with automatically qualified hosts Germany for the 2006 World Cup, which takes place June 9 to July 9, 2006.

The "Kaiser" of German football has already been to Tehran, Riyadh, Seoul and Tokyo and hopes to have visited all 31 countries by February 2006.

DPA

Subject: German news

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