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FIFA expands World Cup to 48 teams

The changes are set to be in place for the 2026 World Cup.

By: Express Web Desk | Updated: January 10, 2017 3:42:00 pm
fifa_reuters-m FIFA will release details once the meeting concludes. (Source: file)

The FIFA Council meeting held in Zurich on Tuesday unanimously decided to expand the World Cup to 48 teams. The tournament will hence have 16 groups comprising of three teams each playing 80 games in total. The changes are set to be in place for the 2026 World Cup. This means that each team still plays a maximum of only seven games, as was the case earlier.

FIFA will release details once the meeting is concluded.

In the current format, which will continue for the 2018 and the 2022 tournaments, the World Cup is contested between 32 teams. The expansion has been the brainchild of FIFA President Gianni Infantino who had initially proposed a 40-team tournament but later added eight more to the number.

Those opposed to the move have said that such an expansion would bring down the standard of the tournament and also feared players having to play  more matches as a result of the increased number of teams. That fear has been put to rest as teams are going to continue playing only a maximum of seven matches. Furthermore, drawn group matches will be decided by penalties.

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