Qatar contemplating 48-team FIFA World Cup in 2022

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Qatar contemplating 48-team FIFA World Cup in 2022

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SportsCafe Desk

07/09/2018

The organizers responsible for conducting the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022 are open to considering the possibility of including 48 teams to participate in the grand world tournament. FIFA President Gianni Infantino has expressed his wish of adding 16 more teams in the tournament.

With Qatar holding the responsibility of hosting the next FIFA World Cup in 2022, the organizers are now open to the idea of accommodating 48 teams in the tournament. A senior Official in Qatar has mentioned that a 48 team tournament can be held using only the eight stadiums in and around Doha.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino made it known that he wanted to add 16 more teams to the tournament. This has been viewed as a move to push Qatar in the direction of allowing other states to co-host, at a time when they have suffered a year long boycott by the Person Gulf states surrounding them. However, the FIFA Council with Infantino as the Chairman has eased the pressure on Qatar by agreeing that the nation's consent can be can be viewed as a ‘precondition’ for change.

“Yes, it’s doable, we just need to figure out how it is done. If the format is done right, it could actually be an edition that is exciting,” said Nasser Al Khater, the assistant secretary general for organizers Tournament Affairs, reported AP.

“If we feel that it’s not in favour of us or of football, we won’t go for it. If the format of a 48-team World Cup is an exciting format, and it doesn’t follow the traditional type of format, yeah, why not? It might add an exciting new element,” he added.

An option of conducting playoff rounds for 32 teams has also been considered from where 16 selected teams would be joining the 16 seeded teams in the authentic group stages.

“Maybe it’s a sudden death, one game sudden death and you’re out, and maybe it happens before the rest of the teams come,” Al Khater said.

The idea was, however, rejected by the FIFA Council in January 2017 as the World Cup in 2026 would be held in the United States, Canada, and Mexico in 16 groups of 3 teams. They believed that it would not bode well with the sudden-death losers to be sent home without having an encounter with the 32 teams.

The FIFA Council and organizers from Qatar would have to reach a conclusion soon before the worldwide program of qualifying games starts next year. The decision for 2022 World Cup could take place as the Emir of Qatar would be visiting Moscow for the World Cup finals 2018. Though Qatar had been facing disputes with the neighboring states, Al Khater assures it won't affect the preparations for the World Cup in 2022.

“Qatar suffered just ‘a bit of a disruption’ last year to supplies for World Cup-linked projects. We don’t have any delays in any of our stadiums, we don’t have soaring costs impact. The political situation has not affected us at all,” he added.

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