The last six months have been an embarrassment to German football as the country prepares to host the 2006 World Cup, Franz Beckenbauer said on Thursday.

“We’ve been a disgrace for half a year,” Beckenbauer, president of the World Cup organizing committee, said in a frank interview with German soccer magazine Kicker.

“Since last July we’ve been virtually incapable of action. It’s got to stop. We must get back to normality.”

He added: “We’ve been sitting in the shit for six months.”

The long search for a replacement for coach Rudi Voeller, who resigned in June after Germany’s first-round exit at Euro 2004, was the first major incident to get in the way of World Cup organization.

Since then, a messy compromise deal over the presidency of the German Football Association and the current match-fixing scandal have continued to keep attention away from next year’s tournament.

Robert Hoyzer, the 25-year-old referee at the centre of the scandal, has admitted fixing several matches and is under arrest on charges of suspected fraud. Berlin prosecutors are investigating a total of 25 people.

Beckenbauer said the country needed to turn attention back to the World Cup, especially with the Confederations Cup now just a few months away.

“I look forward to us getting away from the sideshows,” Beckenbauer said.

“In four months we have the first big test in the Confederations Cup but no one is talking about that.”