FIFA World Cup to feature 48 teams from 2026; longer tournament may lead to boring fixtures, clubs might have to pay heavier price

By: |
Zurich | Updated: January 10, 2017 4:51:17 PM

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has confirmed that the football World Cup will feature 48 teams instead of 32 from 2026

Gianni Infantino , FIFA President, FIFA World CupGianni Infantino announces 48-team format for FIFA World Cup. (Source: Reuters)

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has confirmed that the football World Cup will feature 48 teams instead of 32. The change will be implemented from the 2026 world-cup and will result in 80 matches being played instead of 64 in the existing format. This decision was taken in the FIFA council meeting which was held in Zurich.

Infantino pledged to deliver a bigger World Cup and the 211 member associations were asked to choose from a 40-team plan, 48-team plan and the current 32-team model. The members unanimously voted in favour of a 48-team tournament.

After the implementation of this decision, the teams will be divided into 16 groups of three teams and the top two teams, from each group will advance into the round of 32. FIFA forecasts USD 1 billion extra income from broadcasting and sponsor deals, plus ticket sales, compared to USD 5.5 billion forecast for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

This would also allow more teams to compete for the prestigious trophy. However, the organisation will face a huge challenge to keep the tournament interesting. With just one team getting eliminated from the group round, it may not excite the fans as much as it does now with four teams competing for the top two spots. Also, the decision might favour the bigger teams like Spain, Germany and Brazil who might make it to the second round easily.

FIFA may also face some criticism from clubs as well who may not be very pleased to allow their star plays to feature in a lengthy tournament. In the past managers have often criticised international fixtures for the injuries of their players.

The next step from the organisation would be to announce the number of representatives from each continent. According to the reports by Associated Press, UEFA wants 16 European teams in the competition. The final decision on this will be taken in May.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE and NSE and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Switch to Hindi Edition