In the last few months, it’s been rumored that FIFA could expand the World Cup. That could happen as early as Tuesday as FIFA will vote to expand the tournament to 48 teams. The expansion would begin from 2026.
32 teams currently qualify for the World Cup and that will continue for the next two tournaments in Russia and Qatar. One of the plans is to have 16 groups of three countries, with the top two advancing to the next round. The World Cup currently has eight groups of four teams, with the best two advancing to the next round.
FIFA will vote on Tuesday and if approved, it will be the first expansion since 1998. Four other ideas will be considered for the World Cup expansion. One of the ideas is to have a 40 team tournament with eight groups, each with five teams. Another option is to expand it to 40 teams, with ten groups of four. For this idea, only six group runners-up would advance. The biggest option would be the 40 teams with ten groups of four as there would be 88 games in total. FIFA will also consider keeping the tournament with 32 teams.
37 members of the FIFA council will vote on the five options for the World Cup expansion on Tuesday. The option that FIFA President Gianni Infantino supports would add 16 more games to the World Cup but the tournament would still last 32 days. The teams would play up to seven matches in the tournament.
The World Cup was expanded from 24 teams to 32 in 1994 and that has continued since. The vote on Tuesday might bring an expansion but the changes won’t happen until 2026. This means that the World Cup will have 32 teams for Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino recently spoke at a sports conference in Dubai and said that a expansion would benefit the development of football all over the world. The 37 members of the FIFA council will vote on Tuesday to select the best option for the tournament expansion.