Soccer

FIFA ends Beckenbauer-led World Cup task force

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ZURICH (AP)

FIFA has disbanded an expert panel led by Franz Beckenbauer and Pele which was meant to suggest ways of improving football's entertainment value before the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

FIFA said Tuesday that the intended work of its Task Force Football 2014 group will instead be done by its existing Football Committee, chaired by UEFA President Michel Platini.

Australian winger Harry Kewell and former Germany star forward Steffi Jones are among the new members who will join that committee at its Nov. 16 meeting in Zurich.

Beckenbauer and Pele will be special advisers. Pele never attended task force meetings, which failed to deliver significant results since first meeting in May 2011.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter appointed the task force to create ''a more attractive'' World Cup after too many lackluster matches at the 2010 edition in South Africa.

Blatter has suggested changes could be made to penalty shootouts, because football ''loses its essence as a team sport'' when matches are decided in one-on-one situations.

''Perhaps Franz Beckenbauer with his Football 2014 group can present us with a solution, if not today then tomorrow,'' Blatter said at the annual FIFA congress in Budapest in May.

The 2014 panel was among four task forces FIFA created to help modernize football and the governing body.

Working groups proposed ideas to reform FIFA's statutes, the ethics committee and financial compliance before their work ended in Budapest.

''The work of these task forces has been a great success, and they testified the need to push forward the reform process of FIFA,'' Blatter said in a statement. ''They have been an example of vision and open discussion.''



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