Europe to get three more slots in expanded 2026 World Cup

FIFA reveal the proposed breakdown of allocations for confederations

BY Raf Diallo 16:49 Thursday 30 March 2017, 16:49 30 Mar 2017

Italy lifting the World Cup in 2006 ©INPHO/Getty Images

FIFA has revealed how they plan to allocate the 16 extra places for the 2026 World Cup.

That tournament will be the first one in which the number of participating teams will increase from the current 32 team format to 48 qualified sides.

The Bureau of the FIFA Council has agreed on the way in which the extra slots will be divided between the different confederations across the globe.

Under the recommendations, European football's governing body UEFA will be allocated three extra places, taking it up from the current 13 qualifying nations to 16 going to the tournament directly.

Asia will essentially double its allocation to eight direct spots, while Africa which normally have five places goes up to nine.

South America will receive six automatic places, while CONCACAF (North, Central America and the Caribbean) will also have six direct slots.

Oceania, of which New Zealand is the most high profile member, will receive one automatic qualification place.

The Bureau of the FIFA Council has proposed a six team playoff held in the tournament host country to fill the remaining two places.

They set out the proposed criteria: "One team per confederation with the exception of UEFA + one additional team from the confederation of the host country;

"- Two teams to be seeded based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The seeded teams will play for a FIFA World Cup berth against the winners of the first two knockout games involving the four unseeded teams;

"- Tournament to be played in the host country(ies) and to be used as a test event for the FIFA World Cup;

"- Existing play-off window of November 2025 suggested as tentative date for the 2026 edition."

The proposed breakdown of qualification places will now go before the FIFA Council for ratification at the 67th FIFA Congress on May 9th in Bahrain.

Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week