FIFA president proposes increase of World Cup slots to 48 countries



FIFA president Gianni Infantino has suggested the expansion of World Cup final slots from the current 32 countries to 40 countries, or an even larger number of 48 countries.

He however suggested that 16 of those teams would go home after just one knockout game, and the remainder of the tournament would be played just as is currently provided for, with a 32-team group stage followed by a knockout phase.

The FIFA chief was speaking during an event at Bogota’s Sergio Arboleda university.

He said that a decision would be taken by FIFA Council I January.

“These are ideas to find the best solution, we will debate them this month and we will decide everything by 2017,” Infantino was quoted as saying. “They are ideas which we put forward to see which one is the best.”

“The idea is that 16 teams would qualify directly to the group stage and the other 32 would play in a preliminary phase, in the country where the World Cup is being played – they would play for the remaining 16 places,” he said.

“It means we continue with a normal World Cup for 32 teams, but 48 teams go to the party.”

Infantino was elected FIFA chief on Feb. 26 to replace Sepp Blatter, who received a six-year ban for ethics violations.

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