Pele, Beckenbauer, Charlton miss FIFA meeting

ZURICH - The FIFA task force aimed at finding ways of making football more exciting for the 2014 World Cup got off to an inauspicious start on Tuesday when Pele, Bobby Charlton and Franz Beckenbauer all missed the first meeting.

FIFA said Beckenbauer, the task force's chairman, was suffering from health problems and England World Cup winner Charlton told the ruling body a week ago he would not be able to take part. Pele had a private commitment.

"It was unfortunate they could not be here but football was well represented," FIFA president Sepp Blatter told reporters.

"Pele is the king and the king has his own agenda.

Former Zambia forward Kalusha Bwalya, who chaired the meeting in Beckenbauer's absence, said the committee had agreed to propose allowing a fourth substitution during extra time.

It will also suggest an end to the so-called triple punishment situation when a player denies the opposing team a goalscoring chance in the penalty area.

Under present rules, the player concedes a penalty, gets sent off and misses the next game through suspension but the task force suggested this punishment should be reduced to just a penalty.

Blatter said FIFA would also look at ways of forcing players to improve their behaviour on the pitch as well as on the sidelines.

"A lot was said about the way the players behaved at the last World Cup final but if you look at the team benches, one has to say this was not the best public relations exercise for discipline and respect," he said.

The 22-man group was formed as a response by FIFA to the drab, defensive football and controversial refereeing decisions which marred last year's World Cup in South Africa.

Other proposals included the changing the rule over interfering with play at offside decisions and there was a general agreement on the need to professionalise referees.

Former France international Christian Karembeu, Spain's Fernando Hierro and former Brazil captain Cafu are also part of the group.

It is due to produce a report for FIFA's annual Congress next year.