FIFA Expands World Cup To 48 Teams Starting In 2026

Kristopher Nichols
January 12, 2017

At its most recent meeting in October 2016, the FIFA Council had already discussed the scenarios to expand the competition format of the FIFA World Cup.

The global governing body of the sport on Tuesday voted to expand the World Cup tournament to 48 countries, from the current 32.

New Zealand Football has been handed what could be a golden ticket into the FIFA World Cup.

Still, an expanded World Cup finals is not a bad idea if it doesn't increase the number of matches.

A formal proposal is likely to be formulated and presented to Concacaf's other members around the time of the next FIFA Congress set for May in Bahrain, Montagliani said.

That means more matches (80 instead of 64) and of course more money, the only reason why bodies like Federation Internationale de Football Association make a decision like this.

"Australia is part of the Asian Football Confederation where the most significant growth and investment is occurring", he said on Wednesday.

President Gianni Infantino had laid out plans for such an expansion as part of his campaign for the top job at world football's governing body previous year. There can't be, though, because Fifa's inaugural "The Best" Football Awards took place in Zurich on Monday night, and were packed to the goody bag with unnecessary prizes and cynical virtue signalling. This is one of the biggest issues facing us and a very important topic.

Fifa must break with football tradition to make its new format work after an original 48-team plan - with an opening playoff round sending 16 "one-and-done" teams home early - was unpopular. Our concern was that we did not want to add to the playing calender and did not want to increase the burden on players.

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But Fifa has admitted it expects the standard of the tournament to drop with an additional 16 teams.

"We believe that Asia, as the biggest continent, deserves more slots compared with the current quota, looking at the economic power it has, and the popularity for the game in Asia, in addition to the huge development for football at all levels", he said in a statement.

Organisation New FIFA Now, which calls for reform within football's governing body, said the move will "dilute the competitiveness of the tournament and, therefore, the enjoyment of fans".

An expanded version of the tournament would likely feature 16 groups of three teams each, with the top two from each group in the first round moving on to a 32-team knockout phase.

The next two World Cups will be played under the old format.

These include Infantino's proposed remedy to avoid the risk of teams colluding in their third games to eliminate the other member of the group - he has suggested settling draws with penalty shoot-outs. Meanwhile, now under Fifa, there are 211 national football associations, of which India is one of them. "The top teams typically get through but now and again you get surprises and if that happens it will add to the quality of the competition no doubt". This move would be consistent with the closer relationship that the two have had of late, as evidenced by Copa America Centenario, which brought the two together in a mega tournament.

"My personal view is that it's interesting to have something on the pitch that determines the result". "We will play 32 days like now, we play maximum seven matches like now, 12 stadiums, like now, but give the chance to for more countries to dream".

While we joke about how the USA and Mexico are essentially guarantees to qualify for every World Cup because they're so much better than their CONCACAF competition, Mexico only qualified for 2014 because they got a gift from the USA and then won a playoff.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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