Infantino welcomes 40-team FIFA World Cup

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FIFA president Gianni Infantino says he is open to expanding the World Cup to 40 teams starting in 2026, with co-host duties being given to several countries.

The World Cup has not been expanded since 1994, when the tournament went from 24 teams to its current standing of 32.

 Infantino
Infantino

The vote for hosting duties for the 2026 World Cup is set for 2020, with CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football) nations like the United States and Mexico expected to bid.

No CONCACAF country has hosted the World Cup since 1994, when the U.S. hosted.

“These two topics will certainly be on the table for discussion,” Infantino said. “So, there is, I would say, no limit to whatever is good for football.”

We will see, but it’s true that CONCACAF did not have the World Cup for a long time.”

Infantino, who was elected to the FIFA presidency in February, says there is precedent in expanding tournament. While working for UEFA, he was in charge of the expansion of UEFA Euro 2016 to 24 teams.

“We have seen it again at the Euro in France with eight more teams, what kind of enthusiasm this generated in many, many countries,” he said. “We need to realize that these kind of events are more than just a competition, they are real social events in the whole world.”

Russia will host the 2018 World Cup, and Qatar will host the 2022 tournament.

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