FIFA COUNCIL HAVE unanimously approved proposals for a 48-team World Cup, it has been confirmed, with a format of 16 groups of three nations as of 2026.
The beneficiaries of these extra spots have yet to be confirmed, though it is believed each confederation are likely to see their representation increased by varying degrees.
The decision marks a major coup for the body’s president Gianni Infantino who has made enlarging football’s showcase event the centrepiece of his young administration.
The controversial proposal has faced criticism from some of the sport’s most powerful voices, including warnings that it would dilute the quality of play and overburden already exhausted players.
But Infantino had in recent weeks voiced confidence that his flagship project would be approved.
While noting that a bigger tournament would bring in more money, the Fifa chief has also argued that more World Cup berths would help drive football’s global growth.
Africa and Asia could be the big winners in a larger format with a rise in their number of places, currently at 5 and 4.5 respectively.
But in order to smooth over scepticism about World Cup reform within Uefa, it is likely that Europe will also see its allotments rise above the current 13 places.
Additional reporting by AFP
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