World Cup expansion has long been debated by FIFA as a potential way of making the tournament more exciting and talks are set to commence about introducing the 48-team format at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, according to online sportsbooks news.
Fast-tracking four years could be on the agenda for 48-team format
The World Cup in 2026 was originally supposed to introduce 48 nations at a World Cup – the first of its kind in the history of the competition – however now that proposed format could be expedited four years, which would mean that Qatar in 2022 would see 28 countries take to the field. The ones responsible for this were the South American football federation who suggested that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar be the first one to take on this format, despite them not holding discussions about this possibility before.
From the initial observations, the nation from the Gulf has responded by expressing interest in the 48-country World Cup, despite there being lots of hurdles to overcome first of all. And before any adjustments can be made to the plans, Qatar will be holding talks with the football governing body – FIFA.
The organizing committee for the 2022 Qatar World Cup highlighted the need for productive talks between the committee and FIFA itself before outlining plans for the tournament’s expansion that could take place in that year’s event.
“Before any decision is taken it is important that discussions are held on the operations and logistics of an increase in size of the tournament in Qatar. Regardless of the outcome, we are confident in our ability to deliver a successful World Cup in 2022,” read the statement released by the Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup.
World Cup expansion would require further increase in Qatar’s existing infrastructure
FIFA president Gianni Infantino – who previously approved the World Cup expansion for the tournament in 2026 – welcomed the idea proposed by CONMEBOL to expedite the expansion by four years. But he also highlighted the need for a feasibility study to be conducted before any talks of rolling out the expansion, due to the operational hurdles associated with an increase in World Cup participants, per online sportsbooks in EU.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino supports the expansion in the future. (Photo: The Guardian)
Currently, Qatar’s infrastructure allows for the predicted 32 nations and their respective fans, so an expansion would require significant investments and further increase in amenities to handle the increased influx of thousands of people for the tournament. In addition, this will be the first World Cup staged in the Middle East, which will undoubtedly put more extra strain on Qatar as they look to make it a successful venture. A World Cup expansion would see the number of football games increase from 64 to a whopping 80.
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