FIFA boss Gianni Infantino says football federations back expanded World Cup plan | football | Hindustan Times
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FIFA boss Gianni Infantino says football federations back expanded World Cup plan

Football federations are backing plans to expand the World Cup beyond 32 teams, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in Dubai on Wednesday.

football Updated: Dec 28, 2016 17:28 IST
Gianni Infantino

FIFA President Gianni Infantino gestures during a news conference prior to the Confederations Cup 2017 official draw in Kazan, Russia, November 26, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Files

Football federations are backing plans to expand the World Cup beyond 32 teams, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in Dubai on Wednesday.

The global football federation chief proposed a plan to increase the number of teams playing in the World Cup final tournament to 48, arguing that it can be done in the same time frame as the current tournament.

Global football federations are “overwhelmingly in favour” of expanding the tournament, said Infantino, who has also suggested a 40-team World Cup.

READ | World Cup expansion proposal hits European roadblock

Infantino, speaking at a sports conference, said a 48-team tournament was the most financially appealing structure.

The FIFA boss has previously suggested a 48-team tournament but with a one-off preliminary round involving 32 teams, with the 16 winners going into a 32-team group stage and joining 16 teams who would receive a bye.

READ | Fifa president Gianni Infantino backs 48-team World Cup with 16 groups

When he was elected in February, Infantino had promised to expand the tournament from the current 32 teams to 40.

Infantino later told reporters it would be up to the FIFA council members to decide in a “democratic process” on the expansion.