World football’s governing body FIFA have this morning announced that a 48-team format has been agreed for the 2026 World Cup.
A meeting amongst the official council took place in Zurich this morning, during which a unanimous vote was cast in favour of the expanded tournament.
The agreement will see an additional 16 teams take part in the tournament in 10 years time, with 16 groups of 3 teams competing for a place in the knockout stages.
At this morning’s meeting, 37 council members were asked to select their favourite proposal from five choices.
These choices included two 48-team formats, two 40-team formats and one 32-team format (the current one).
A number of high-profile names had already come out in support of the idea of a more inclusive World Cup, including Jose Mourinho, Carles Puyol and Nigerian Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick, who recently said that ‘most of Africa is excited about it.’
The idea, originally proposed by FIFA President Gianni Infantino as part of his early campaign changes, has seen an understandable backlash among football fans and players alike, with many questioning why such a change is even necessary.
The fact that the vote at FIFA headquarters today was a unanimous one, despite the fact that the vast majority of the public have been so against the idea of an expanded World Cup, will leave fans of the game with no choice but to once again question the motives of football’s governing body.
The argument that Infantino and co. are more interested in monetary gains than the good of the game will likely be raised now more than ever.