Fifa Vote To Expand World Cup To 48 Teams

Federation Internationale de Football Association president Infantino says he wants more countries to experience the "joy" of participating in a World Cup, a privilege that only a few nations can realistically aspire to.

The inaugural World Cup, staged in 1930 in Uruguay, featured just 13 teams and 18 matches. More likely, we are looking at CONCACAF keeping its own qualifying, but with more World Cup spots. It is a chance to participate in a big event.

"We are in the 21st Century".

Some have pointed to Euro 2016 - which expanded to 24 nations - as evidence that competition can remain fierce with more countries involved, noting the stunning achievements of football minnows such as Iceland and Wales.

"Some countries are maybe spoilt because they go all the time, like Germany, so maybe they take it for granted but, for a lot of countries making it to the World Cup, it's the biggest thing to happen to that country".

Currently, the World Cup consists of 32 teams in groups of four.

"We understand that this decision has been taken based on political reasons rather than sporting ones and under considerable political pressure", the ECA claimed in a statement. That's an increase on the 48 games played at a 32-team World Cup. The format will not mean extra games for the tournament winners, however, as they will still play seven matches in total.

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The new format of 48 teams - 16 groups of three teams, then into a 32-team knockout competition - would entail 80 matches.

"The key message from clubs I appreciate fully has always been don't touch the calendar, the dates of the World Cup or the burden for the players, and both these commissions fulfil them".

And Kerr believes that the tournament will become "farcical" as a result, while also convinced that the major influencing factor behind the decision was more countries getting a share of the increased profits that will be generated.

The expanded tournament is expected to earn football's governing body an extra $1b (€950m) in sweet, sweet revenue. We have come out with a format that is actually better because it reduces the amount of matchdays compared to the proposal, but it also brings in more associations to the event.

The Welsh have not responded to the development, but the Irish are delighted.

India, ranked 135th in the world should see this as a good news and an enhanced prospect for qualifying into the finals of the attractive game's showpiece event.

With teams like Egypt, Jordan, and New Zealand now set to make bids in the future (and the United States potentially set to make more consistent appearances), the face of worldwide soccer could look quite different in ten years' time. "What it would do is give more countries hope and raise expectation levels".


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