World football body FIFA is set to increase the number of participating teams in the World Cup from 32 to 48 after the body voted in that regard during a meeting in Zurich.
The change is expected to start taking effect during from the 2026 tournament.
At the moment, the number of games is about 64 games but it is set to rise to 80 when the expansion plans kicks in. however, eventual winners of the tourney play same seven games only. Also, the whole affair would be within 32 days in a bid to appease the concerns of those who opposed it – mainly European clubs.
The European sides were mainly concerned of the crowded international schedule and the duration of the tournament. The change to the World Cup is the first since France ’98, with the FIFA president Gianni Infantino being one of the key persons behind the expansion. The boss said he wanted to make the World Cup “more inclusive.”
“We are in the 21st century and we have to shape the World Cup of the 21st century. It is the future. Football is more than just Europe and South America, football is global. The football fever you have in a country that qualifies for the World Cup is the biggest promotional tool for football you can have,” Infantino is quoted to have said at a news conference after the announcement of the results of the vote.
The increased participation is expected to boost the revenue of FIFA by 521 million Pounds, according to FIFA research. However, the FIFA boss insists that the decision remains merit-driven.
“It’s not at all a money and power grab, it is the opposite, it’s a football decision,” he said. He added that there no guarantees yet but that every part would see increased representation.