Gianni Infantino said the proposal to expand the World Cup finals to 48 teams, with 16 groups having three teams instead of the current 32 teams in 8 groups, received positive backing at the meeting of national federations.
“They are very supportive of expanding; everyone, unanimously — all those who were here,” the FIFA president said after the meeting.
“The big, big, big majority is in favor of the 48 teams with the 16 groups of three.”
The change was highly welcomed when Infantino put it forward in a select meeting of national federations from Asia, Europe, and Oceania.
With the new change, the top two teams from each of the 16 groups will get automatic qualification to the knockout stages. This also helps to take care of the current problems of some group matches were some teams have nothing to play for.
“There is a big upside for football because it allows eight or 16 more teams and more countries and regions in the world to participate. There is no downside for the players, and there is no downside for the clubs because the calendar isn’t impacted.” Infantino said.
The change, which may take effect from the 2026 World Cup, will see 48 teams competing for the regular number of days scheduled for the world cup i.e., 32 days.