Gianni Infantino proposes expanding World Cup finals to 48 teams

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Gianni Infantino proposes expanding World Cup finals to 48 teams

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SportsCafe Desk

10/04/2016

Fifa President Gianni Infantino has indicated that the FIFA World Cup might include 48 teams rather that the traditional 32, a format that has been in effect since 1998. Infantino, who replaced Sepp Blatter as the head of FIFA in February, had earlier hinted at increasing the number of teams to 40.

The FIFA President has come up with an interesting format where 16 countries would be eliminated in a knockout round before the group stages, before the big guns would come in. After that the tournament would continue in the exact same way as it has been since France won the coveted trophy in the last millennium.

He said, “Fifa's idea is to develop football in the whole world. The World Cup is the biggest event there is. It's more than a competition, it's a social event.”

“These are ideas to find the best solution. We will debate them this month and we will decide everything by 2017.”

“It means we continue with a normal World Cup for 32 teams, but 48 teams go to the party,” concluded the 46-year-old Swiss, who indicated that the decision for the expansion would be reached as early as January 2017.

One of Infantino’s election promises, when he was campaigning for the top job in World football, was to expand the World Cup to 40 teams, and it appears the success of the Euros, where 24 teams were in the main competition instead of the standard 16, has certainly caught the Swiss’ attention.

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