FIFA made a decision to expand the number of participants in World Cup, from 32 to 48 national teams, starting with 2026 tournament.
The Assembly of the World Football Federation accepted president’s Gianni Infantino proposal to expand the World Cup to 48 national teams.
The Swiss explained his proposal, saying his motives are purely sports-based. This new format will give the chance for more nations to experience excitement and joy of participating in one of the biggest events on the globe.
But there is a financial aspect of this expansion. The revenues are predicted to jump to almost $6.5 billion, while the clean profit will be around $650 million.
The proposition was the second item discussed and voted on, in today’s assembly.
The format will sustain 16 groups with three teams. After that, there will be a knockout stage with 32 participants.
FIFA promised last year that they will add 16 more national teams. The Council of FIFA unanimously accepted Infantino’s initiative. The World Cups in Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 will be the last with 32 teams.
The first negative reactions came from the European Club Association. They represent the richest club’s in Europe who are strongly against this format. They think that it is politically motivated.
FIFA: Fears Expressed from European Clubs
They also expressed their fear for a large number of games and that the players will be exposed to more injuries and other problems.
It is questionable how these teams have that opinion, when the World Cup is playing every 4 years. Two or three games more during that period will affect on their players when they are already having more than 70 games each season playing for them.
This is an obvious example of hypocrisy by the rich clubs from Europe. They should be ashamed because of this statement.
Never in history did we have a situation where rich clubs try to control modern football.
The allocation of the new 16 spots, is going to be revealed at the next assembly. It is already said that African and Asian federations expect to have a significant increase of numbers for participation.
It is still unknown who is going to be the host of the World Cup in 2026.
The United States are the biggest favorites. There have been some rumors that they are going to co-host the world Cup with Canada or Mexico.