FIFA scraps the idea of expansion to 48 teams for 2022 Qatar World Cup
Written by: Shriman Visahan
The game's most prestigious tournament will retain to its traditional format with 32 teams for the upcoming edition.
Earlier, FIFA president Gianni Infantino had contemplated the idea of involving 48 teams in the Qatar World Cup but the governing council has deemed the idea as impractical.
FIFA had found that they would run into various logistical and political hurdles if they had to tackle the task of hosting 48 teams. This would involve Qatar to co-host the World Cup with its neighbours in the Perisan Gulf. However, this wouldn't be feasible due to a diplomatic crisis in 2017.
An internal inquiry and investigation by FIFA concluded that the option of co-hosting isn't a possibilty unless Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates restore normal economic and travel ties.
FIFA said in statement: "Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.
"Additionally, FIFA and Qatar have once again explored the feasibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament by in particular lowering certain key FIFA requirements.
"A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June. "It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option."
Nevertheless. the 2026 edition of the FIFA World Cup which is to be co-hosted by United States, Canada and Mexico, is all set to be the first edition to feature 48 teams.
Published: Thu May 23, 2019 01:20 PM IST