Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Sport | By Wendy Sparks

FIFA working to expand World Cup to 48 teams

FIFA working to expand World Cup to 48 teams

UEFA, European football's governing body, is unlikely to fight Infantino's plans at Friday's council, with the proposal expected to be passed on to a further meeting ahead of June's congress.

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das had confirmed the development to the Indian Express and said, "We want to bid for the under-17 women's world cup and wanted to understand the procedure".

The World Cup will, in any case, grow to 48 teams for the 2026 edition which will be held jointly in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Three each would go to teams from Africa, Asia and CONCACAF, which represents North and Central America and the Caribbean. That is the slot previously reserved for the Confederations Cup, which serves as a test event in a host nation a year before the World Cup.

The Women's World Cup runs from 7 June to 7 July and features 24 teams, including England, Scotland and defending champions the USA.

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Following Infantino's announcement, a spokesperson for the ECA said: "ECA clubs will not participate in 2021 CWC and will assess participation in editions of the competition post-2024".

The organisers of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar say they are "open" to the possible expansion of the tournament from 32 to 48 teams through the addition of a second host country.

The FIFA president had hoped to get backing for a "pilot" edition of the new 24-team tournament in 2021 alongside a new worldwide Nations League for national teams.

Also Friday, the FIFA Council will be asked to approve the recommendations of a feasibility study into adding another 16 teams for the Qatar World Cup in 2022. Earlier on Friday, a letter from European Club Association head Andrea Agnelli - the chairman of Serie A side Juventus - was published in German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung, stating that it will boycott the competition.

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"But it was our responsibility to take a decision because we have to deal with the organisational matters - it is only two years away". "If it doesn't happen - fantastic also", he said.

The ECA says a decision on potential new competitions can only be made as part of an agreed framework for the worldwide match calendar post-2024.

No venue has been mentioned for the inaugural tournament, but it is scheduled to take the slot now reserved for the Confederations Cup in 2021.

He added that VAR will be used in the tournament, "the same as we did for the men's World Cup".

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