World Cup: FIFA to expand competition to 48 teams
by Newsroom Staff Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
New Delhi, Jan 11: FIFA has decided that the World Cup will be expanded to host 48 teams, up from 32.
An initial stage of 16 groups of three teams will precede a knockout stage for the remaining 32 when the change is made for the 2026 tournament.
The sport’s world governing body voted unanimously in favour of the change at a meeting in Zurich today.
The number of tournament matches will rise to 80, from 64, however, the eventual winners will still play only seven games.
The tournament will be completed within 32 days – a measure to appease powerful European clubs, who objected to reform because of a crowded international schedule.
The changes mark the first World Cup expansion since 1998.