FIFA plans to expand World Cup to 48 teams

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MNA Sports Desk: FIFA President Gianni Infantino is keen on hastening the expansion of the World Cup to 48 teams for the 2022 tournament in Qatar, a move that might require the tiny Gulf nation to share games in the region.

The governing body will now study if Qatar can alone cope with the additional logistical challenges of hosting 16 more teams and 16 more games than originally planned for the Middle East’s first World Cup.

The jump from 32 to 48 teams was originally only due to apply from the 2026 tournament under plans Infantino secured approval for last year.

But he is highly receptive to a request received Thursday from south American confederation CONMEBOL and its 10-member associations to accelerate the expansion plans.

Qatar currently has plans to build eight stadiums, whereas bidders for the 48-team 2026 tournament have been told they need 12 venues. Rather than further straining the requirements on Qatar, one option to accommodate the leap from 64 to 80 would be to share games in the Gulf.