• World Cup

Pele refuses role in World Cup draw

ESPN staff
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Pele will be present at Friday's World Cup draw - but as a spectator only © Getty Images
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Brazil legend Pele says he turned down the chance to take part in Friday's draw for next summer's World Cup finals because he feared putting the hosts in a tough group.

Pele, the only player ever to win the tournament on three separate occasions, will be at the ceremony in Costa do Sauipe, but revealed he declined an invitation from Brazil's president to help divide the 32 qualified nations into eight groups for next year's tournament.

"President Dilma [Rousseff] suggested that I represent Brazil when it came to pulling the balls out of the pots, which I've done several times before," Pele is quoted as saying in the Daily Mail.

"I preferred to turn down the offer because I wouldn't feel comfortable in picking out balls which are not favourable to Brazil.

"I will be there, God willing. I will give interviews, accompany the delegations from abroad and do what is necessary, representing President Dilma."

Brazil are one of the eight seeded teams in Pot 1, which also includes reigning champions Spain, three-time winners Germany and two of the hosts' neighbours and big rivals, Argentina and Uruguay.

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