Brazil great Pele to appear at World Cup draw

Brazil icon Pele is slated to play a role in Friday's World Cup draw.
Stephan Savoia/AP

COSTA DO SAUIPE, Brazil (AP) - Organizers of the 2014 World Cup say football great Pele will make an appearance at Friday's draw in Brazil but his role is being kept a secret.

It hadn't been clear whether Pele would be participating in the event that will determine the schedule for next year's tournament, but organizers confirmed Monday he will be part of the show broadcast to about 250 million viewers in more than 190 countries.

''He will be the `wow' moment of the show,'' said Luiz Gleiser, the event's artistic manager.

Head of FIFA Films David Ausseil said Pele ''will come to the stage'' at some point but his participation in the ceremony won't be revealed in advance.

''We will keep that as the surprise on Friday,'' Ausseil said.

Pele is a World Cup ambassador for the Brazilian government, but he was not involved in the Confederations Cup draw a year ago and surprisingly didn't appear at the opening match of the World Cup warm-up tournament. He has made only a few appearances promoting the World Cup, the first in Brazil since 1950.

It is already certain that Pele will not be drawing the balls that determine the group placings, a task handed to past world champions Cafu of Brazil, Zinedine Zidane of France, Lothar Matthaeus of Germany, Fernando Hierro of Spain, Fabio Cannavaro of Italy, Alcides Ghiggia or Uruguay, Geoff Hurst of England and Mario Kempes of Argentina.

They will be assisting FIFA Secretary Jerome Valcke, who will be conducting the draw that reveals all first-round matchups of the World Cup, including where and when each of the 32 teams will be playing in the June 12-July 13 tournament.

Nearly 1,500 guests are expected to attend the event, along with about 2,000 journalists. Representatives of nearly all 32 nations will be in the luxury resort city of Costa do Sauipe to accompany the draw.

Brazilian artists such as Alcione, Margareth Menezes, Alexandre Pires, Vanessa da Mata and the percussion group Olodum will be part of the show on Friday.

Local actors Fernanda Lima and Rodrigo Hilbert will be presenting the event, which FIFA says will focus on ''five traits that make Brazil what it is: a cohesive society, the power of innovation, lush green nature, vibrant football and a land of happiness.''

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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