In­fantino: FIFA to de­cide on ex­panded WCup in Jan­uary

Jamaica Gleaner - - SPORTS -

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

IN­FANTINO

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.

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