(WFI) Pele, Bobby Charlton and US Soccer chief Sunil Gulati are among the key figures appointed to the task force chaired by Franz Beckenbauer that will make proposals to improve the game before the Brazilian tournament.
FIFA unveiled the 22-member panel on Thursday. Pele, the only footballer to have won the World Cup three times in 1958, 1962 and 1970, is deputy chairman.
Charlton, a Manchester United legend and 1966 World Cup winner with England, is also joined by fellow Englishman Alex Horne, general secretary of the English Football Association, Brazilian legend Cafu, France 1998 World Cup winner Christian Karembeu.
Other appointees include Theo van Seggelen, general secretary of FIFPro, global football’s players’ union, Jiri Dvorak, FIFA’s chief medical officer, and China’s Tracy Lu, a member of FIFA’s Committee for Women’s Football and one of three women on the panel.
“Under the chairmanship of Franz Beckenbauer, this vastly experienced team will address every facet of the game, tackling any challenges related to the game and coming up with appropriate solutions,” Blatters said in a statement.
Beckenbauer., who steps down from the FIFA Executive Committee in June, said : “I’ve enjoyed carrying out my role as chairman of the Football Committee since 2007. Since then, my colleagues from around the world and I have achieved a great deal, but important matters such as goal-line technology, additional referees, the so-called ‘triple-punishment’, behaviour on and off the field, as well as various other topics still need to be discussed and positively resolved.
“As such, I am happy to take on the chairmanship of the Task Force Football 2014 at the invitation of Sepp Blatter. Football remains an important part of my life.”
Today’s announcement came six months after the FIFA Ex-Co decided to create the taskforce, including members of the football, technical, medical and the referees committees, to do an “in-depth analysis of the game and determine ways to improve football in all areas”.
FIFA is keen to enliven the opening rounds of the 2014 World Cup after a slew of desperately poor games at South Africa 2010.
The task force will hold its first meeting at FIFA headquarters in Zurich on May 10. It will update the FIFA Congress in the Swiss city on June 1.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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