FIFA President wants to see a 48-team World Cup

The tournament was last expanded in 1998

BY Daniel Kelly 08:52 Tuesday 4 October 2016, 8:52 4 Oct 2016

Picture by Joe Giddens PA Wire/Press Association Images

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has announced he wants to increase the World Cup from 32 teams to 48, after originally stating he wanted it to be increased for 40 teams.

The idea would see 16 seeded teams in the group stages, that would be joined by another 16 teams, who won a knockout match. The final 16 would be sent home after the first match.

Infantino's idea would see the World Cup expanded for the first time since 1998. France 98 saw the 32 teams compete in the World Cup for the first time. The tournament in 1994 was the last that saw 24 teams take part. Before that expansion, 16 teams competed in the Finals up to 1978.

Germany won the previous World Cup in 2014.

While the Infantino idea would see the team numbers increase by 50%, there would only be an additional eight matches in the tournament, a 12.5% increase.

FIFA's decision could be made as early as next January. The decision would not effect Russia 2018.

Qualification for the 2018 World Cup is already well underway across all the continents. Qatar 2022 is also already scheduled to take place with 32 teams, meaning the 2026 World Cup could be the first to see an expanded format. The United States remain the favourites to host the event.

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