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FIFA starts task force to make "a more attractive World Cup"

FIFA 2014 task force

FIFA panel looks into improving soccer

ZURICH -- 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.

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