48-team World Cup proposal gets thumbs up at FIFA meeting

Gianni Infantino said a proposal to expand the World Cup finals to 48 teams, with 16 groups of three teams, received enthusiastic backing.

By: AP | Singapore | Published: December 8, 2016 3:56 pm
Russia Soccer Confederations Cup Three proposals were put forward by FIFA president Gianni Infantino. (Source: AP)

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said a proposal to expand the World Cup finals to 48 teams, with 16 groups of three teams, received enthusiastic backing at a meeting of national confederations on Thursday.

That model, along with an alternative 48-team format and a 40-team event, were three proposals put forward for discussion this week by FIFA as it considers expansion of the World Cup from 2026 onward.

A select meeting of national confederations from Asia, Europe and Oceania met with Infantino on Thursday, and the FIFA president said “everyone, unanimously” supported an expansion.

“The big, big, big majority is in favor of the 48 teams with the 16 groups of three.”

Under that format, the top two teams from each of the 16 groups would advance immediately into knockout stages, eliminating games in which one or both teams had nothing to play for.

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