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FIFA ponders later start for next World Cup in Brazil

ZURICH (Reuters) - A later start to the next World Cup to allow top players to have a longer rest after sapping club seasons will be one of the key issues for a FIFA task force looking at improving future tournaments, Reuters has learnt.

A boy looks out from the window of a boat, with a Brazil's FIFA World Cup Soccer 2014 logo, before a travel on the Negro river, at the Manaus port in northern Brazil, July 24, 2010. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

Starting the 2014 finals in Brazil in July rather than mid-June would allow players to be fresher for the tournament, a senior source at world soccer’s governing body said.

FIFA president Sepp Blatter has already announced plans for his task force to look at ways of making the tournament more attractive.

Blatter’s decision came after several high-profile players, including Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba, produced mediocre performances at the World Cup in South Africa this year.

FIFA was also disappointed by the cagey tactics by teams in the first round of matches which made for several dull games.

Blatter said he wanted solutions to be introduced in time for the next World Cup in Brazil.

FIFA had already introduced a cut off date for leagues to end their seasons earlier in a World Cup year but this seemed to make little difference to the conditioning of some leading players at the 2010 finals.

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The World Cup usually starts just weeks after the end of league season in Europe.

Blatter suggested in October fear of losing in the opening round of the World Cup made for too many unexciting games in the first fortnight of the tournament.

“Nobody really wants to lose one of these (first round) matches, we had five or six draws in South Africa, so let’s see how we can make football more attractive,” he said after a FIFA executive committee meeting.

He had previously suggested one solution might be to abolish extra-time, with drawn matches in the knockout stages going straight to penalties.

Editing by Justin Palmer