The World Cup’s expansion to 48 teams could be brought forward to the 2022 tournament, admits FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
Football’s world governing body voted last January to increase the finals from its current 32 participants, to 48, in time for the 2026 World Cup.
However, that expansion could now come as soon as 2022 in Qatar after the South American confederation asked for it to be brought forward.
FIFA will now conduct a feasibility study into the possibility, but Infantino is behind the proposal.
Infantino very active in Mid East this year – meetings held with political leaders in Saudi + UAE. Is there a grand strategy to make 2022 a Gulf-wide tournament, using football to bring together fierce political enemies?
Expansion to 48 teams would give sufficient reason to ask.
— Richard Conway (@richard_conway) April 12, 2018
“It seems to me a very interesting idea,” Infantino said.
“We have to study it seriously and if it is possible, why not?
“I firmly believe in an enlargement because I am convinced that it is good for the development of football. That is why we have proposed it and that is why we have agreed to it since 2026.”
Much will depend on whether Qatar has the infrastructure to host a 48-team tournament, with eight new stadiums being built for the World Cup.