The FIFA Council have voted unanimously to expand the World Cup to a massive 48-team format, constituting 16 groups of 3, in time for the 2026 finals, which will most likely be held somewhere in North America.
This was President Gianni Infantino‘s favoured plan, and he has long agitated for a much bigger FIFA. Well, he got his wish. The planned 48-team format is massive, and will culminate in a 32-team knockout stage.
The six continents will find out by May how many extra places they get in this new scheme. It’s expected that Africa and Asia will likely be the big winners here, and they could nab up to 9 extra spots each.
This will nudge the number of matches in the World Cup up to 80 instead of 64, which is expected to bring an extra $1 billion revenue, which is a tidy sum by any measure. Despite the 16 extra games, FIFA is confident they can stick with 12 stadiums, which was the standard in Brazil and Russia.
This is what we’re all thinking right now:
Photo: Getty Images / Cameron Spencer.