ZURICH (Reuters) - A FIFA working group featuring Pele and Franz Beckenbauer has been wound up after their discussions on how to make the World Cup more exciting produced little more than a suggestion on handshakes.
“The FIFA Task Force Football 2014, which started in May 2011, has concluded its work following discussions on possible reforms of the game,” said FIFA in a statement on Tuesday.
”Several members of this task force, including its chairman Franz Beckenbauer, will now integrate with the FIFA Football Committee, a permanent standing committee which will continue to present proposals to improve the game.
The task force, also featuring several other former international players, was asked to find ways of making World Cup matches less defensive after a number of lacklustre games at the 2010 edition in South Africa.
The committee made an inauspicious start when former Germany captain and coach Beckenbauer and England 1966 World Cup winner Bobby Charlton missed the first meeting in May last year while former Brazil great Pele never took part.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter initially said he wanted the task force to examine the possible return of the ‘golden goal’ and the abolition of extra time after drawn matches in the knockout stages.
During this year’s FIFA Congress in Budapest, Blatter suggested Beckenbauer’s group could even consider the abolition of penalty shootouts.
Chairman Beckenbauer, however, was reluctant to suggest anything that drastic.
At the group’s last meeting in February the German spoke mostly about the importance of players shaking hands.
He suggested footballers should line-up in the centre circle and shake hands after a game as he did in his schooldays, and that teams should take the field together for the second half.
The task force put forward a proposal that teams be allowed to make a fourth substitute during extra time but this was turned down in March by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), the sport’s rule-making body.
Another suggestion to abolish the so-called triple punishment - where a player who gives away a penalty is also sent off and automatically suspended for the next match - was put on hold by the IFAB.
Writing by Brian Homewood; editing by Tony Jimenez