Published: Sat, March 16, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Federation Internationale de Football Association to explore expanding 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams

Federation Internationale de Football Association to explore expanding 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams

"We have to take care of the footballers", Bartomeu said in an interview with The Associated Press in Miami, where the FIFA Council is meeting.

No decision will be made on expanding that tournament, with possible additional host nations, until June, Infantino said. "If the calendar is not modified, of course we can not agree".

Qatar is now embroiled in a bitter diplomatic dispute with fellow Gulf states Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE - meaning that the only realistic candidates to co-host the tournament are Kuwait and Oman.

"We went through a consultation process, spoke with everyone, some agree, others disagree, you have different views and positions", said Infantino.

Therefore, the FIFA Council agreed to extend the mandate of the FIFA Task Force for Future Competitions to continue exploring the idea of a worldwide Nations League, with no specific time frame having been set at this stage. "We will explore the possibility of who could potentially be hosting some of the games in the Gulf region and if we come to some conclusions in June, we will make a proposal to the council and of course the congress". At least we don't have regrets that we didn't analyze this question.

"From now on the world will see a real Club World Cup where the best clubs in the world will compete to crown the world champion", said Infantino. "The top clubs in the world have fans all over the world".

The announcement comes in the face of considerable opposition from European clubs.

The competition, however, immediately faced a boycott from Europe's leading clubs, which include the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United.

The changes to the Club World Cup will see the introduction of a 24-team competition, rather than the existing seven, which would be likely to feature eight clubs from Europe.

"We hope all the greatest teams will participate", Infantino said. "We will continue our discussions".

The ECA added that any talk of a new competition must be made in conjunction with approval of a new framework for the Federation Internationale de Football Association global match calendar after 2024.

Infantino added that club football was "evolving at a different pace in different parts of the world" and it was Fifa's duty to put on an "exciting, prestigious and inclusive competition, and we'll have that with this Club World Cup, starting in 2021". Javier Ceppi, the then U-17 men's World Cup tournament director congratulated India after the development with a tweet saying, "amazing news for India and the women's game".

The 27 referees and 48 assistant referees selected for the Women's World Cup took part in VAR training at a camp in Qatar last month.

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