World Cup organizers want role for injured Beckham

World Cup organizers will talk to David Beckham about having a role at the tournament's opening ceremony on June 11 in Johannesburg.
An injury has ruled out David Beckham for World Cup play this summer. ((Antonio Calanni/Associated Press))

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 (Beckham) 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."

"We will talk to him when he gets here," Jordaan said.

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

England coach Fabio Capello has invited Beckham to be with his 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 world 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."