Sports

FIFA, Qatar to work on 48-team World Cup

FIFA, Qatar to work on 48-team World Cup

Federation Internationale de Football Association is on a major collision course with European governing bodies after pressing ahead with money-spinning plots to increase the size of the Qatar World Cup and introduce a revamped global club tournament.

However, even before Friday's meeting of the ruling FIFA Council, Infantino was forced to drop the Nations League plan after his own task force found there was no consensus for such a tournament and a lack of space in the worldwide calendar.

"We came to conclusion, yes it's feasible to move from 32 to 48 teams at the World Cup provided certain conditions are met", Infantino said.

And any declaration of support by FIFA's Council on Friday would acknowledge that expansion in 2022 can only take place if one or more countries on Qatar's borders are able to host games, according to a document seen by AFP. "So we'll move to the next stage and look at who could host these games, and then congress can take the final decision".

Following Infantino's announcement, a spokesperson for the ECA said: "ECA clubs will not participate in 2021 CWC and will assess participation in editions of the competition post-2024".

Infantino said five members of the Council did not attend the meeting, the first for FIFA's leadership in the USA since American law enforcement arrested numerous sport's top officials in 2015 on corruption charges. The Fifa president needs Qatar to agree to it, as the 16 extra teams would mean it would have to share the event with at least one co-host.

The Council approved the idea by 25 votes to seven, with FIFA President Gianni Infantino later saying he was "extremely happy" the idea had been backed.

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"What is clear is that if we were to increase to 48 teams, and we will decide this in June, then some games would have to be hosted by some neighboring countries of Qatar". No host nation has been decided yet, Infantino said.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will need to end their diplomatic blockade of Qatar launched in 2017 if they want to be involved, FIFA's feasibility study said.

No venue has been mentioned for the inaugural tournament, but it is scheduled to take the slot now reserved for the Confederations Cup in 2021.

Infantino said five members of the Council did not attend the meeting, the first for FIFA's leadership in the USA since American law enforcement arrested numerous sport's top officials in 2015 on corruption charges.

Video review has been approved for the Women's World Cup, which runs from 7 June to 7 July.

The increase in teams will see the tournament feature 80 matches instead of the 64 used in a traditional 32-team World Cup.


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