FIFA council has decided that it will expand the number of teams playing in the world cup will be expanded to 48 from 2026. Earlier it was only 36, and now it is 50 percent bigger. According to the decision, the number of teams participating will be divided into 3 groups of 16. There has been no decision on the host country for the world cup in 2026. There has been a tremendous growth in the number of countries playing football, as the first World Cup in Uruguay in the year 1930 had only 13 participating teams. Meanwhile, currently under Fifa, there are 211 national football associations, of which India is one of them.
Under the new format, every team will play against each other and the top two countries will progress to a knockout round with 32 sides, after which the tournament will go on as usual. This also means fewer group stage games, which might be a good thing as is excludes bad teams being satisfied with draws in a game. While critics have snubbed it as a method to gain more money and the fact that it will decrease the competitiveness of the tournament. Many have said that the council is tampering with the tried and tested formula, especially as FIFA decided to expand it to 48 even after receiving criticism about including 40.
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Meanwhile, there is happiness among African and Asian countries, as many new countries might get a shot, plus there might be an improvement in the domestic circuit, as with the new hope countries will start investing in sporting infrastructure and development among the youth. So the great mix will increase the footballing culture in countries like India. Meanwhile, India has a very low chance of making it to the top 48 in the first shot itself, as currently it is ranked at a lowly 135 in FIFA list.