FIFA Council ‘Unanimously’ Vote In Favour Of Expanding World Cup To 48 Teams

Chris Wright

10th, January 2017



The votes are in and FIFA’s grand council have unanimously decided to expand the World Cup from 32 participating teams to 48.

The changes, which are scheduled to come into effect from the 2026 tournament onward, will see an initial stage featuring 16 groups of three teams that will be followed by a 32-team knockout stage.


The official FIFA line is that the expansion is to make the World Cup “more inclusive” (entirely defeating the point of a creme-de-la-creme tournament) but we suspect that the projected increase in revenue may well have been a factor too.

According to BBC Sport, the 16 extra games will produce an extra income of around $1billion for FIFA from sponsors, broadcasting deals, tickets sales and the like.

Quelle surprise.

The real winners? Panini…

Posted in World Cup

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  1. Bruno says:

    Honestly I don’t care if a 48 teams World Cup will help to promote the sport even more or if it will help small countries to develop their football. The World Cup is the World Cup, once in 4 years, the pinnacle of football. I don’t want to watch Germany Vs Bahamas or Brazil against Indonesia, I want to see great games between great teams with the best players. Can someone please focus on the sport? I actually think 32 teams is too much. Should be 24. Or 16.

  2. Jeremia says:

    I don’t mind 48 teams per se, but… over half of South America in the tournament and a guaranteed place for New Zealand…?

  3. James says:

    Sheer hubris but I don’t think the World Cup will even get to Qatar let alone a 48 team tournament after

  4. Dave says:

    I think it’s a good plan. Glad it’s been seen through. Football is not the property of a few countries, the more inclusive the better! Also the World Cup has hardly been a creme-de-la-creme tournament in the past decade or so, this will liven it up! Germany vs the Bahamas sounds a right laugh!

    This will give many nations around the world the chance to go and support their team at a World Cup and experience the atmosphere when previously they wouldn’t! Football is the world’s game so the world should be able to play at the World Cup!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Pure money grabbing trash. Fuck FIFA, don’t support this greedy bullshit. Only watch the World Cup if you support this lunacy 3 teams per group shit.

  6. Dave's an idiot says:

    Dave, you’re an idiot. The reason it’s not creme-de-la-creme is precisely because there are too many teams. No one wants to see some garbage club get steamrolled by Germany 7-1. Oh, wait…

    But in all seriousness they should be reducing the number of spots if they actually cared about the game. This is nothing but another money grab by some of the best money grubbers in the business. Maybe one day soon we can have a world cup in North Korea, with the foundations of the stadia built with the bones of all the people in “reeducation” camps. Think of the media spotlight and ensuing profit $$$$$!

  7. PeopleAreKrap says:

    Mr Infantino (you couldn’t make it up) has publicly admitted that “much of the detail has yet to be worked out”. If this is how FIFA operate then I may well start my own business flying people to the moon, I just haven’t worked out how to do it yet (apparently we already went but I’m not convinced). OK, some poetic licence taken, but the principle is there.

    WTAF people? They don’t even know if it’ll work, yet they have the utter nerve to think it will be OK & get it ratified. This is how rampant capitalists work – dream up a get rich quick scheme, then worry about the details later. I can guarantee, absolutely guarantee that it will be over budget & late, backhanders & brown paper envelopes all over the place, and the customer will foot the bill. I guess this is how the fiasco that is the Qatar World Cup was envisaged – “how much can we make?” versus “will it actually work?”

    If nothing is done, then the people will get the game they deserve. Legislation will do no good, shaking up FIFA has done no good. We need direct action, that is, hitting them in the pocket. It’s the only punishment they know. FIFA need us more than we need them, we can create an alternative FIFA (see MK Dons, United FC for inspiration – it can be done).

    Never forget this.

  8. Timon says:

    This is such a bad decision. More mediocre teams will makes for a long, unforgettable, bloated tournament. The World Cup is the biggest, most prestigious footballing event- and letting another 16 teams that would not normally be good enough to quality makes the 4 year wait less special and memorable.

    The whole “it gives the smaller nations a chance” is rubbish. That’s the point of the qualifiers! Every single country has a chance to make it – and its only the select few that should qualify and get rewarded by playing against the best. This is the main reason why people watch the World Cup: to see the best players and the best teams play.

    But, I guess more matches = more money for FIFA. Which is all that matters, I guess.

  9. Fnarf says:

    Looks like they’ve gone and fnarfed it

  10. PetrovskyKSC says:

    Couldn’t care less about the number of participants. I loved it when Tahiti played in the olympics. The thing is: I can’t resist watching the matches anyway. I’ll go and see it is positive as possible but i’ll definitely miss the old, lengthy group stages. Those were the matches which you could enjoy on your own without the temporarily interested footballing experts coming to life every four years. The only thing I really worry about is too many south american teams in the tournament. I don’t want 10 out of 10 SA teams in there. The subsequent step must be to redesign qualification modes across continents and, probably, put concacaf and conmebol qualifiers together. I can’t imagine anything more boring than bolivia playing honduras. I am convinced that I’d be slowly dying in front of the telly watching that loada bollocks.

    Of course, criticizing FIFA for its pathetic attempts to suck the last penny out of football is justified. However, we will have to accept that the state of play is never going to change, which is also due to our very own behaviour buying overpriced tickets, PPV packages and so on. The only possibility to escape the over-commercialized FIFA garbage is to fully walk away from professional football. But, seriously, who in their right mind would ever consider that option after having taken part in the capitalist football soap opera for so long? Let’s face it: Football is our golden calf, and we have already sacrificed our souls for it.

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