Beckham says sorry for yellow-card furore

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David Beckham today issued a formal apology for the yellow-card furore which has engulfed the England captain and conceded he had been wrong to deliberately get himself booked against Wales.

David Beckham today issued a formal apology for the yellow-card furore which has engulfed the England captain and conceded he had been wrong to deliberately get himself booked against Wales.

Beckham admitted yesterday that he fouled Ben Thatcher in order to pick up his second caution of the qualifying campaign and be suspended for tonight's match in Azerbaijan because he knew he would miss the game through injury.

Today, however, the England captain realised his error and has apologised to England fans, players, officials and head coach.

Beckham said in a statement released to the Press Association: "The greatest honour in my career was when I was made England captain, there is no better feeling in football than playing for your country.

"In an interview on Tuesday I was asked a question and made a frank and honest admission to counter the negative speculation.

"I now know that was wrong and apologise to the Football Association, the England manager, my team-mates and all England fans for this.

"I have also apologised personally to my manager Sven-Goran Eriksson.

"I know that as captain you are in a privileged position and must always abide by FIFA's code of fair play, something which I have always done throughout my career.

"On this occasion I made a mistake. I hope that people will now focus on the match tonight and cheer the team on, as I will be doing."

Beckham, who has returned to Spain, will be out for three or four weeks with the fractured rib he picked up against Wales.

The England skipper, who volunteered the information to a national newspaper, hopes his swift apology will draw a line under the incident and will avoid any punitive action from Eriksson, the FA or even FIFA.

Beckham had been stung into making the admission by some claims that he was booked deliberately to draw attention away from new allegations about his private life in a Sunday newspaper.

However, it led to criticism from many quarters with FIFA president Sepp Blatter, England World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst and match official Terje Hauge all rebuking Beckham for his actions.

Blatter said: "David Beckham is an ambassador football so he has a responsibility as he is a great player with a lot of charisma. Therefore I am very disappointed about his behaviour."

Hurst suggested Beckham should be stripped of the captaincy and added: "I would argue that it brings the country into disrepute."

Hauge, the Norwegian referee tricked into booking Beckham, said: "It is not correct to do that. He is the captain of the England team and he is a star. Many young players look up to him. It's not good for him to think and act like that."

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