Strong indications abound that FIFA’s desire to raise competing teams at the next World Cup to 48 will come to reality even as final word on the issue has been reserved till June.
Qatar are the main host for the 2022 world cup which is may feature for the first time 48 teams as opposed to the usual 32 teams is the proposal sails through.
FIFA rose from its meeting Friday with discussion pointing towards realising the 48-team format, there is however a challenge as there is need to add another Gulf State to join as co-host with Kuwait and Oman being suggested as possible best options.
Qatar would not be forced to share games with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates unless diplomatic relations improve. The 2026 edition of the world cup to be jointly hosted by United States, Canada and Mexico is penciled down for 48 teams but FIFA President Gianni Infantino is pushing to have the format make its debut in the next edition of the world cup instead of waiting till the 2026 edition.
He however hinted that the issue is not cast on iron and could be left in the cooler if it fails to fly when it will be properly addressed in June
He said he believed a 48-team World Cup in 2022 in Qatar is ‘feasible’, adding: ‘If it happens, fantastic, if it doesn’t happen, fantastic also.”
The two biggest governing bodies in world football, meanwhile, are on a collision course after FIDA approved plans for an expanded Club World Cup from June 2021
The move is likely to trigger a heavyweight clash between the global authority and UEFA, with leading European clubs expressing opposition to the proposal.
A leaked letter from the powerful European Club Association (ECA) to UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin stated that its clubs would refuse to take part.
The changes to the Club World Cup will see the introduction of a 24-team competition, rather than the existing seven, which would be likely to feature eight clubs from Europe.