Not content with expanding the World Cup to 40 teams, the Fifa president, Gianni Infantino, has suggested going even further and opening up the competition to 48 countries from 2026.
The proposal to expand the competition to 40 teams was part of Infantino’s manifesto when he was elected to succeed the disgraced Sepp Blatter this year.
However, the former Uefa general secretary has now gone further still and suggested that the tournament could feature 48 teams, 16 of which would go home after one match.
The idea would mean almost a quarter of Fifa’s 211 members qualifying for its flagship tournament and further increase the demands on the host nation. But the idea is likely to be popular among confederations outside Europe, who have long felt disadvantaged when it comes to World Cup places.
Infantino, speaking during an event at Bogota’s Sergio Aboleda university, said a final decision on the plan would be taken by the newly expanded Fifa Council in January, according to local Colombian media. “These are ideas to find the best solution. We will debate them this month and we will decide everything by 2017,” said Infantino. “They are ideas which we put forward to see which one is the best.”