Infantino: FIFA to decide on expanded WCup in January
ZURICH (AP): FIFA WANTS to decide in January if the 2026 World Cup will expand from its 32-team format, with 40 or 48 the favoured options.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino expects a decision when the ruling council meets in January, likely in Zurich, he said yesterday.
“The general feeling is rather positive” towards expansion, Infantino said at a briefing after FIFA’s ruling council met. “The level of quality of football is increasing all over the world.”
Infantino justified the plan as a way to create more “football euphoria” for months in countries that qualify and guard against “disaster” being declared where national teams fall short of world sport’s most-watched event.
2026 WORLD CUP
The 2026 World Cup – which many expect to be hosted across North America – could also be run centrally by FIFA from Zurich instead of by the hosts’ own local organising committee.
Infantino outlined plans for FIFA to take “full control of all money flows,” and how it spends hundreds of millions of dollars on each tournament, before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
The idea was detailed in “FIFA 2.0: The Vision for the Future”, a 70-page document relaunching Infantino’s
sometimes troubled eight-month presidency.
It follows FIFA paying US$453 million to Brazil’s 2014 World Cup committee and budgeting to spend US$700 million on Russian operations running the 2018 tournament.
FIFA covers World Cup operating costs, though not the host nation’s stadium, transport, and security projects typically running to billions of dollars.