FIFA decides not to add 16 teams for 2022 World Cup finals
World football governing body FIFA said Wednesday that the number of teams at the next men’s World Cup will remain at 32.
FIFA had considered expanding the field for the 2022 finals, to be held in Qatar, to 48 teams.
In March, FIFA president Gianni Infantino said a feasibility study showed it was possible to increase the size of the competition to 48 teams for Qatar “providing certain conditions are met.”
Infantino also said doing so would require some neighboring countries to share hosting duties and that FIFA was “working very closely” with the host nation to explore the possibility of tournament expansion.
“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,” FIFA announced Wednesday.
FIFA said it also considered lowering some 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 (5),” FIFA said.
In 2010, Qatar was awarded the right to host the 2022 World Cup, the first ever to be held by a nation in the Middle East.
FIFA has already agreed that the 2026 tournament, which will be jointly held by Canada, Mexico and the United States, will feature 48 teams — although that decision was made before the bidding process had concluded.