FIFA Vice-President claims Russia and Qatar World Cups are the best things to happen to football

Victor Montagliani's comments were made at an event in London

BY Daniel Kelly 13:24 Wednesday 5 October 2016, 13:24 5 Oct 2016

Former FIFA President Joseph Blatter with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov and Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of Qatar. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

December 2nd, 2010 will remain one of the most notorious days in the history of FIFA.

Just over five-and-a-half years ago in Zurich, Russia was awarded the rights to host the 2018 World Cup. Later that afternoon, Qatar won the rights to host the competition four years later. Both nations will host the tournament for the first time.

Victor Montagliani claims the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups has helped FIFA try and cleanse itself of corruption issues. Gianni Infantino has since replaced Sepp Blatter as the association's president.

"I think that was the starting point and the tipping point for certain things to happen. If England and the US had got the World Cup, maybe we would’ve had status quo. I’m just wondering if the authorities that have stepped up their involvement in the game would’ve done that if the choices had been a bit different. Maybe the best thing that happened in football was Russia and Qatar."

The CONCACAF President also gave the clearest indication yet, that the World Cup in Qatar will be the last to see 32 team competing in the Finals.

"I think it’s obvious it’s not going to stay at 32 for 2026. I think it’s going to change," Montagliani said at the Leaders in Sport conference in London. "If we listened to traditionalists we’d still have a 16-team World Cup. And there is a balance. You don’t want 211 countries in a World Cup either."

"The reality is that the World Cup is such a strong brand and inspires a lot of hope and inspiration in countries... I think it’s an opportunity and I think the president is right to really look at it. Should it expand? I think the answer is probably yes."

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