FIFA President Gianni Infantino had come up with a proposal to extend the World Cup to 40 teams in the Presidential Election run. Now that he has been appointed as the boss of the world football governing body, Infantino has revealed that he wants the World Cup to feature 48 teams.
This arises huge curiosity in the minds of Indian football fans. Can India, ranked 148 in the world currently, get their dreams to feature in the senior FIFA World Cup finally fulfilled. The good news is, back in April, the Swiss football administrator wanted more places for Asian countries from the FIFA World Cup 2026.
Infantino suggested 16 of the 48 teams would go home after just one knockout match, and a 32-team group stage would be played as usual, apart from a knockout phase.
"These are ideas to find the best solution, we will debate them this month and we will decide everything by 2017," Infantino was quoted as saying by Reuters. "They are ideas which we put forward to see which one is the best."
"The idea is that 16 teams would qualify directly to the group stage and the other 32 would play in a preliminary phase, in the country where the World Cup is being played - they would play for the remaining 16 places," he explained.
"It means we continue with a normal World Cup for 32 teams, but 48 teams go to the party. FIFA's idea is to develop football in the whole world, and the World Cup is the biggest event there is," he added. "It's more than a competition, it's a social event."
Currently, only 32 teams take part in the FIFA World Cup, out of which there are only four automatic spots for countries from the Asian confederation. A fifth spot is is possible, if they win an inter-continental playoff.