The World Cup is set for a significant expansion ahead of 2026, with FIFA approving new plans for a 48-team tournament.
In spite of changes to the group stages of the tournament previously being touted it has, however, been confirmed four-team groups will remain, an unsurprising move given how engaging they were in Qatar.
Nonetheless, for the upcoming tournament, which takes place across Canada, The USA and Mexico, there will be 48 teams, rising from 32 in the previous competition.
It means that there will be an additional knockout game before teams reach the quarter finals, the governing body underlines its ambitions to spread football globally to a wider audience.
Whilst not diluting the competition in the early stages, FIFA’s new plans increase how taxing the tournament will be, as the season is extended and the number of games in an already busy calendar is increased.
Further adding fuel to the fire of top flight managers, the governing body has also laid out plans for the growth of the Club World Cup, which could increase to 32 teams.
According to the latest plans, from 2025, Europe will take 12 spots in the tournament – which would be judged on a club ranking system. The tournament, however, would only take every four years, as opposed to the annual competition that is currently on the football calendar.
Whilst being met with critics over the extra fixtures, the move would likely increase the value and engagement of the Club World Cup – as the competition pits domestic rivals against each other.
Furthermore, it will also likely bolster the globalisation of football, increasing the number of competitive games some of the sport’s biggest clubs play in new continents.