FIFA votes to expand World Cup competition to 48 teams

Jan 11, 2017 12:28 IST

FootballThe FIFA Council on 10 January 2017 unanimously voted to expand the FIFA World Cup to a 48-team competition.

At the 3rd meeting at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 9 and 10 January 2017, the council decided on a new tournament format with the 48 national teams split into 16 groups of three teams. The top two teams from each group will then move forward to a 32-team knockout stage.

Key highlights of the new format

The new format is set to be introduced in the year 2026.

There will be no reduction in the overall number of rest days and a guaranteed maximum of seven matches for the teams reaching the final.

The council zeroed in on the decision following a thorough analysis, based on a report that included four different format options.

The study looked onto factors such as sporting balance, competition quality, infrastructure, impact on football development, the consequences for event delivery and the projections on financial position.

The FIFA Council had already discussed the scenarios to expand the competition format of the FIFA World Cup at its meeting in October 2016.

The council had also set out a set of principles for countries to bid for the right to host the 2026 edition. At present, the process is scheduled to culminate in May 2020.

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About FIFA

The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the international governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer.

It is responsible for the organisation of football's major international tournaments. It organises notably the World Cup and the Women's World Cup.

It was founded in 1904.

Its aim is to oversee international competition among the national associations of Switzerland, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Sweden, and Belgium.

It is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland.

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