FIFA panel looks to improve World Cup in 2014

A FIFA task force will suggest ways of improving soccer at the

2014 World Cup in Brazil.

FIFA President Sepp Blatter said Friday he wants ”a more

attractive World Cup” than he saw in South Africa. Seven of 64

matches were goalless, including six in a cautiously played opening

phase.

Called ”Task Force Football 2014,” its duties will include

looking at new ways to decide group-stage matches and how games are

refereed.

The panel will include members of FIFA’s Football, Technical and

Development, Medical and Referees committees.

Blatter said the task force will mirror one set up after the

low-scoring 1990 World Cup in Italy.

”In 1990, football was not at its best level. Twenty years

later we are doing it again,” he said after a two-day executive

committee meeting.

FIFA also wants fans to see improved ticket operations at the

next World Cup. Blatter approved creating a FIFA company to have

”stronger control” over ticketing, which was widely criticized in

South Africa.

FIFA said in a statement it wants to ensure ”clearer allocation

of tasks and decision-making power” between the local organizing

committee and British-based company MATCH, which had exclusive

rights to distribute World Cup tickets.

Group matches were played with thousands of empty seats in most

stadiums, yet FIFA and MATCH directors Jaime and Enrique Byrom

failed to give detailed explanations why.

Blatter revealed he will soon check Brazil’s World Cup

preparations after FIFA completes investigations into alleged

bribery and collusion in bidding for the 2018 and 2022

tournaments.

”In the third week in November I will be visiting Brazil and I

hope to shake hands with the newly elected president,” he said.

Candidates Dilma Rousseff and Jose Serra are in a vote Sunday to

succeed President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

In other decisions:

-The 2011 FIFA Congress in Zurich was scheduled to take place

May 31-June 1, when national members will vote in their own

presidential election. Blatter will seek a fourth term in office;

no challenger has been announced.

-Prize money of $7.6 million will be paid to teams at the 2011

Women’s World Cup, an increase of $1.2 million. The tournament is

played June 26-July 17 in Germany.

-FIFA approved an additional $2 million funding for Pakistan’s

federation to renovate soccer facilities damaged by floods.