FIFA head Gianni Infantino suggests 48-team World Cup

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — FIFA President Gianni Infantino says the World Cup could have 48 teams playing at the 2026 tournament instead of 32.

On Monday, Infantino outlined the idea that would see 16 teams go home after playing just one game in an opening playoff round.

The 16 playoff winners would join 16 seeded teams to begin a 32-team group stage that follows the current World Cup format.

Infantino says expanding to 48 means “more countries and regions all over the world would be happy.”

The 2026 World Cup format and bidding process will be discussed next week when Infantino chairs a FIFA Council meeting in Zurich.

Infantino wooed FIFA voters by promising a 40-team World Cup before winning election in February.

Now he says “with 40 teams, the math doesn’t work.”



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