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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, March 25, 2010

Soccer: World Cup organizers want role for injured Beckham

AP Sports Writer

JOHANNESBURG World Cup organizers will talk to David Beckham about having a role at the tournament's opening ceremony.

Organizing committee chief executive Danny Jordaan told The Associated Press on Thursday there have already been indications that Beckham will travel to South Africa with England's squad, even though he has been ruled out of playing because of a torn Achilles' tendon.

Beckham is expected to be involved in promoting England's bid to host the 2018 World Cup.

Jordaan said the organizing committee would approach the former England captain about taking part in the opening ceremony at the Soccer City Stadium in Soweto on June 11.

"I think that already there is an indication that he will come with the England team and he will work for the 2018 bid," Jordaan told the AP at a FIFA event in the Johannesburg township of Alexandra. "So we will meet him when he comes here."

The England team is expected to arrive in South Africa on June 3.

The 34-year-old midfielder ruptured his Achilles' tendon playing for Italian club AC Milan this month. He underwent surgery in Finland and is expected to be sidelined about six months.

England coach Fabio Capello has invited Beckham to join the squad at the monthlong tournament. Beckham had been hoping to become the first Englishman to play in four World Cups.

Beckham's presence at the opening ceremony could be a massive boost for local organizers, who have experienced disappointing ticket sales for soccer's biggest event.

The local organizing committee expressed its disappointment after Beckham was injured on March 14, saying Beckham was a "household name" who would "enhance spectator presence in South Africa."