Infantino: only ‘slim chance’ of 48-team World Cup in 2022
Adecision on a possible expansion of the 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams will be made in March at the latest, and the chances of it happening are slim, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has said. Infantino confirmed to DPA that the FIFA Council will decide on the issue at its March 14-15 meeting in Miami, and he also expects a decision there on the introduction of an expanded Club World Cup and global Nations League.
Football’s ruling body FIFA has already approved the expansion to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament in the United States, Mexico and Canada, and FIFA is now looking into a South American proposal to have 48 teams in 2022 in Qatar as well.
But Infantino is skeptical that this will become reality, saying: “The chance is slim. We are trying it.
“It would be great if it works out but it is also great if it doesn’t work out. We will have a great tournament, no matter what.” By the time of the Miami meeting a FIFA task force, headed by Infantino, will have completed its look into the controversial Club World Cup and Nations League issue which is backed by 25bn dollars from so far unnamed investors, the FIFA boss said.
The task force was set up recently owing to pressure from critics within the FIFA Council, mainly from Europe, who want more information on the investors and possible tournament formats.
Infantino dismissed the criticism on a new-look Club World Cup and at the same time criticised alleged plans of a breakaway Super League, insisting that the Club World Cup “is the better Super League” because it would take place within existing federation structures. Infantino also threatened players from clubs who would perform in such a breakaway league with World Cup exclusion.
This picture taken on February 29, 2016 shows FIFA president Gianni Infantino (L) and Swiss prosecutor Rinaldo Arnold during a football match organised after Infantino’s election in Zurich.