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09th Jan 2017

FIFA are set to approve Gianni Infantino’s plan for a 48-team World Cup

Oh joy

Tony Cuddihy

Soon enough, they won’t need qualifiers at all.

FIFA are set to approve plans from its president, Gianni Infantino, for a 48-team World Cup from the 2026 finals onwards.

According to The Guardian, the president of the Nigerian Football Federation Amaju Pinnick says it would be a massive surprise if Infantino’s plans are not ratified at a FIFA Council meeting in Zurich on Tuesday.

“So far everybody’s excited about it,” he said.

“I wouldn’t say there’s 100% support but all my colleagues I’ve spoken to – all my colleagues – are excited about it. I’m not going to say 100% because I haven’t spoken to everybody, but certainly most of Africa is excited about it.”

One of Infantino’s plans would see 16 groups containing three teams in each group – the top two from each group would then go into the first knockout round of 32 teams.

The Guardian also reports that…

‘There are also two options under which the competition would expand to 40 teams, one in which 32 teams would play a one-off knockout round for the right to join 16 pre-qualified teams in the main tournament, and the possibility of retaining the present 32-team format.’

Under the terms of Infantino’s main proposal, the number of games would rise from 64 to 80.

“There won’t be too much football. Why worry about it? We’re just excited about it,” Pinnick added.

“You should understand, the president of Fifa, whatever he does, he does a lot of consultation and research.

“And of course he knows it’s not going to be boring. It’s going to be very good. There’s going to be more teams and more football. The more the merrier, and I believe he will get it right. If it isn’t agreed it would be a big surprise because most nations are supporting it.”