FIFA cancels 2006 FIFA World Cup Gala Berlin
Having conducted another in-depth study into the requirements for successfully laying a new pitch after the 2006 FIFA World Cup Gala
Having conducted another in-depth study into the requirements for successfully laying a new pitch after the 2006 FIFA World Cup Gala, which was scheduled to take place at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium on 7 June 2006, FIFA has decided to cancel the event. At the end of 2005, the dates for the Gala and the first group match at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium were altered from 8 and 12 June to 7 and 13 June respectively, but it has since become clear that there would be considerable risks involved, not only in dismantling the stages and the event’s technical installations in time, but also in laying a new pitch, which has to be in perfect playing condition by 12 June.
FIFA and the German local organising committee have all the more reason to regret this decision as they have always been and indeed still are deeply impressed with artistic director Andre Heller’s plans for the event, which has been in development for many months. It is no longer possible to move the event to another city as there would not be sufficient time to devise a whole new plan for the event or to relaunch the programme for voluntary artists and workers.
FIFA still believes in the considerable merits of a separate opening event and will meet with Andre Heller and his team to work on proposals regarding the possibility of holding such an event at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
FIFA would like to express its gratitude to the City of Berlin, to everyone involved in the project, and especially to the 15,000 volunteers who have all worked with great enthusiasm and joy. FIFA will find a suitable way to recognise their work and commitment. All payments for tickets purchased for the event will be refunded in their entirety.
“Personally, I still think the idea of holding such a high-profile opening event is a good one. FIFA has not taken the decision to cancel the event at such a late stage lightly, but as world football’s governing body, we must put sporting considerations first. I would like to thank Andre Heller and everyone involved for their commitment and their understanding of this decision,” said FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
“It is with a great sense of sadness that I leave my exciting work for the FIFA World Cup Gala in Berlin, but I cannot argue with the fact that the World Cup matches at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, including the final, have to be played in perfect conditions,” explained Andre Heller. “Artistic plans, even successful ones, must take a back seat in such matters. I will now focus all my energy on our plans for the opening ceremony in Munich and the closing ceremony in Berlin.”