Most countries back expanding 2022 World Cup: FIFA

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Doha, Dec 14 (IANS) The head of football’s world governing body said that FIFA is considering a plan to increase the number of teams taking part in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from 32 to 48.

While the decision to shift to a 48-team format was approved last year by FIFA, the change was not supposed to take effect until 2026, reports Efe news.

But FIFA president Gianni Infantino on Thursday suggested advancing the implementation to 2022.

“We gathered the opinions as well of our members, the federations,” he said on Thursday during a press conference in Doha, the Qatari capital.

“So far, of course, the majority are in favour because 16 more teams participating not only means that 16 more countries will have World Cup fever, but 50 or 60 countries will be able to dream of qualifying for the World Cup,” Infantino said.

“Whether it is feasible or not is a different question,” he acknowledged.

FIFA will make a final decision in March, Infantino said, adding that some matches might have to be in other countries if Qatar could not accommodate the expanded schedule.

“Of course, I’m not naive enough to not know and read the news, and what’s going on, but we are in football not in politics and in football sometimes dreams come true,” the FIFA president said, alluding to the current tensions between Qatar and neighbours such as Saudi Arabia.

–IANS

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