Infantino Gives Nod For 48-team 2026 World Cup

By Ikenga Chronicles December 7, 2016

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has reportedly given his nod for 48 teams in the World Cup featuring 16 groups of three starting with the 2026 tournament.

Sources in world football’s governing body say Infantino is expected to submit his latest proposal of 48-team event but with the traditional 32 countries advancing to the final, at a FIFA Council meeting in Zurich on January 9-10 having nurtured the plans before his election.

To this end, a letter outlining the new format was due to be sent to the members of the FIFA Council on Wednesday, the source said, adding that the format was “preferred by President Infantino.”

Under the new format, the source said, “every qualified team would play at least two group matches. The top two in each group would then go through to the last 32.”

However, the FIFA Council will be left to decide whether to maintain the current World Cup format of 32 teams, extend it to 40 teams or go to 48 teams at their January meeting.

Infantino, recently hinted he will consider a World Cup jointly organised by several countries to share out the burden of providing facilities for the tournament.

“We don’t want white elephants” he said in reference to stadiums that have been built for past World Cups and then left without a purpose after the tournament.

“We want facilities that will last.”

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