FIFA president Gianni Infantino backs plans for a 48 team World Cup

The format would be 16 groups of 3

BY Simon Maguire 17:07 Wednesday 7 December 2016, 17:07 7 Dec 2016

Newly elected FIFA president Gianni Infantino of Switzerland raises an arm during a press conference after the second election round during the extraordinary FIFA congress in Zurich, Switzerland, Friday, Feb. 26, 2016. Delegates of the soccer body FIFA met to elect a new president. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has reportedly backed plans for a 48 team World Cup.

The tournament would be broken down into 16 groups with three teams in each, according to AFP.

Infantino is due to submit his plan at a FIFA Council meeting in early January in Zurich.

The World Cup currently has a 32-team format which divides into eight groups of four nations.

The first official World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930. The hosts won the tournament itself which was contested by 13 teams.

Four years later, the tournament headed to Europe where Italy hosted a 16 team event which was again won by the hosts.

The tournament stayed as a 16 team event until Spain welcomed 24 countries in 1982. It wasn't until the 1998 event in France that the 32 team tournament as we know it was first played.

Speaking on the idea of an expanded tournament previously in October at Bogota’s Sergio Aboleda university, Infantino said: “These are ideas to find the best solution. We will debate them this month and we will decide everything by 2017. They are ideas which we put forward to see which one is the best.” 

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