Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Federation Internationale de Football Association to explore expanding 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams

Federation Internationale de Football Association to explore expanding 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams

Federation Internationale de Football Association will now produce a proposal with Qatar to take to the next council and congress meetings in June in Paris.

The new competition is expected to include eight teams from Europe.

"We will work with FIFA to determine whether or not a viable operating model does exist and importantly, whether it is in the best interests for football and for the tournament, and for Qatar as the host nation".

A 48-team World Cup in Qatar and another Gulf state in 2022 moved a step closer last night after football chiefs pushed on with plans to extend the competition early.

European clubs have publicly resisted FIFA's bid to replace the current seven-team annual Club World Cup, which is played annually in December, with an expanded quadrennial version in June-July.

The European Club Association (ECA) says any new competitions should be part of an agreed framework for the global match calendar post-2024.

The ECA represents 232 European clubs, including all the leading teams who would be expected to feature in a Club World Cup.

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The FIFA council has also agreed to introduce a pilot tournament of an enlarged 24-team Club World Cup in 2021 despite European opposition.

But he has been forced to drop the Nations League plan before Friday's meeting of the FIFA Council in Miami, after his own task force said there is no space for such a tournament in the worldwide calendar. "If it doesn't happen - fantastic also".

"[We are] firmly against any potential approval of a revised CWC - no ECA clubs would take part", it said. "We'll continue our discussions, but it's our responsibility today to take a decision and we have to deal with organization matters".

Barcelona President Josep Bartomeu backs a revamp of the competition, just not until the entire calendar for club and national team matches is reconfigured for 2024 and beyond to cope. The confederations would decide their own qualification process, whereas now each continental champion qualifies for the Club World Cup along with the host country.

The move away from the traditional 32 teams which will see 80 matches instead of 64 - the notion was originally slated to come into effect for the 2026 tournament in North America - means one or more other countries will be asked to help Qatar stage the shortened 28-day event which is scheduled to kick off in November 2022.

He added that VAR will be used in the tournament, "the same as we did for the men's World Cup".

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