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31st Oct 2018

World Cup expansion to 48 teams could be brought forward to 2022, says Fifa president

Fifa president Gianni Infantino admitted the expansion to the World Cup could be implemented as soon as 2022, rather than 2026

Reuben Pinder

Just in case you thought the Qatar World Cup couldn’t get any worse…

As if a winter World Cup riddled with corruption and thousands of deaths caused by inhumane construction conditions weren’t bad enough, Fifa have dropped this bombshell on us.

Fifa president, Gianni Infantino has said that the expansion of the tournament from 32 teams to 48 could be brought forward to 2022, rather than delaying the change until the 2026 World Cup, which will be held across the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The expansion would mean Qatar would have to share hosting responsibilities with neighbouring countries in the middle east.

“If it is possible, why not?” he said.

“We have to see if it is possible, if it is feasible. We are discussing with our Qatari friends, we are discussing with our many other friends in the region and we hope that this can happen.

“And, if not, we will have tried. We will have tried because we always have to try to do things in a better way.”

Speaking at the opening of the Asian Football Confederation’s new headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Infantino also reiterated his plans to expand the Club World Cup.

He said he wants to make it a “real competition” that “every club in the world can target”.