Media Release

Federation Internationale de Football Association

FIFA Strasse 20, P.O Box 8044 Zurich, Switzerland, +41 (0) 43 222 7777

Beckenbauer meets Pope in Rome

Franz Beckenbauer's audience with Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday 26 October 2005 will undoubtedly rate as a major highlight of the OC President's 31-nation global tour of the 2006 FIFA World Cup™ finalists. "This was one of the most moving moments of my life," Beckenbauer declared after the meeting with his fellow Bavarian at the Vatican. The OC delegation was granted a brief private audience at the conclusion of a general audience for 50,000 pilgrims who had flocked to a sunny St Peter's Square in Rome. Beckenbauer presented the Pontiff with a 2006 FIFA World Cup pennant. Benedict XVI wished the OC President "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," the Pope revealed.

The Pontiff also greeted Rudi Völler, 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.

The previous evening, OC vice-president Wolfgang Niersbach hosted a welcome reception at the spectacularly located Villa Miani. Italian 1982 FIFA World Cup winners Claudio Gentile, Giancarlo Antognoni and Dino Zoff attended the OC Welcome Event, along with Giacinto Facchetti, Roberto Boninsegna and Luigi Riva, Beckenbauer's opponents from a dramatic semi-final at the 1970 FIFA World Cup Mexico. The Welcome Tour now moves on to Poland on 28 October and Ukraine on 31 October.