FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the governing body is considering a plan to increase the number of teams participating in the 2022 Qatar World Cup from 32 to 48. He said majority of national soccer federations are in favor of expanding.
Infantino during a press conference in Doha on Thursday said FIFA had been gathering opinions from federations and found out that the majority are in favor. He said 16 more teams participating not only means that 16 more countries will have World Cup fever, but 50 or 60 countries will be able to dream of qualifying for the World Cup.
Last year, FIFA had approved the decision to shift to a 48-team format for 2026, but it said the format will not apply to Qatar.
Infantino said the final decision has to be made in March next year because the qualification draw will be held in summer.
However, Infantino considered the question on whether the 48-team format in Qatar is feasible or not, adding that Qatar is unlikely to manage 16 more teams. The nation has been planning for a 32-team tournament since it was awarded hosting rights in 2010. The expansion to 48 teams would mean extra qualifiers from all the international confederations.
For the first time in World Cup history, the 2026 tournament will be jointly hosted by 16 cities in three North American countries – Canada, USA, and Mexico.