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Gianni Infantino Wants 48-team World Cup With 16 Groups

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FIFA World Cup

FIFA president Gianni Infantino wants 48-team World Cup with 16 groups

Zurich, Switzerland – FIFA president Gianni Infantino is reportedly in favor of changing the format of the World Cup to include 48 teams at some point in the future.  According to Agence France-Presse, the teams would be divided into 16 groups of three under the new format.

Infantino, who had until now proposed a 48-team event but with a traditional 32 countries advancing to the finals, will submit his latest proposal at a FIFA Council meeting in Zurich on January 9-10.

If the new plan is approved by the FIFA Council at a meeting next month, the World Cup would expand to 48 nations from 2026, and the top two teams from the 16 groups would advance to a new round of 32.

The recommendation letter to council members also set out a format for a 40-team World Cup.

This would the first time the council will consider expanding the tournament format since 1998 from 24 teams to 32, and previously from 16 to 24 in 1982.

The former Uefa general secretary, who pledged to expand the World Cup to at least 40 teams when running to succeed Sepp Blatter earlier this year, said in October: “Football is a world sport and we cannot confine it just to a few countries. It’s more than just Europe and South America. It’s the world.”

It has been well-noted that Infantino’s support came mostly from those underdeveloped nations in soccer that would like to compete in the biggest stage there is for the sport, a World Cup.

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