The arrival of Gianni Infantino as the FIFA president last year brought in some fresh ideas.
One of Infantino's key manifesto has been about the FIFA World Cup getting expanded to 48 teams. That's a huge move, considering the World Cup has never featured so many teams. Is it time for a new world order?
It will all be decided on Tuesday as the world football governing body goes to vote to decide for or against one of Infantino's dreams. THE HISTORIC VOTE HAS BEEN CAST!
Interestingly, top football personalities -- from Jose Mourinho, current Manchester United coach to Argentina football legend Diego Maradona -- have spoken in favour of the FIFA World Cup featuring 48 teams.
The FIFA World Cup started in 1930 and the current number of teams featuring in the competition is 32.
How the number of teams changed over the years
|FIFA World Cup edition||Venue||Number of teams|
The FIFA Council, whose total strength is 37, have five options at hand as they prepare for the voting process.
What are the voting options
- 48-team World Cup: 16 groups comprising three teams; the top two sides qualify for a round of 32 knockout stage. Total games: 80.
- 48-team World Cup: 32 teams play a knockout game only once; 16 winners from the round joins 16 other teams, who have already qualified. Total games: 80 (16 in preliminary stage, 64 in main tournament).
- 40-team World Cup: 10 groups of four teams each; the top team from each group advance, along with the runners-up from only six groups. Total games: 76.
- 40-team World Cup: Eight groups of five teams each. Total games: 88.
- 32-team World Cup: Present scenario. Total games: 64.
Possible outcome of a 48-team World Cup
- Currently, 13 European countries figure in the FIFA World Cup. It could potentially rise to 16 with one European country in each group.
- Fifa could merge the North and South American qualifiers for a 48-team World Cup in 2026.
- Teams from Conmebol (South American football confederation) could rise to 14.
- Opportunities for further representation from Asian teams, including India.