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World Cup 2006 to Open in Munich

In a letter to Munich Mayor Christian Ude, FIFA chief Sepp Blatter said the world governing body of soccer believed the opening ceremony should be held as usual immediately before the kickoff for the opening match, which is scheduled to take place in the Bavarian capital on June 9. Several German officials, led by Interior Minister Otto Schily, have opposed hosting the ceremony in Munich and have argued that Berlin, as the country’s capital, should receive the honor. FIFA officials have not altogether ruled out holding a separate show in Berlin prior to the actual opening ceremony, but such a celebration would have a different character than the official opening, said organizing committee vice president Wolfgang Niersbach. "It’s quite clear that the official ceremony will take place in Munich," Niersbach told reporters on Tuesday. (based on wire reports)

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