Fifa president Gianni Infantino open to 40-team World Cup, multiple co-hosts | football | Hindustan Times
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Fifa president Gianni Infantino open to 40-team World Cup, multiple co-hosts

Fifa President Gianni Infantino is open to a 40-team World Cup in 2026, with several countries serving as co-hosts.

football Updated: Sep 06, 2016 20:02 IST
AP
AP
Gianni Infantino

FIFA President Gianni Infantino listens a speech, during the opening plenary general assembly.(AP Photo)

Fifa President Gianni Infantino is open to a 40-team World Cup in 2026, with several countries serving as co-hosts.

Infantino’s comments Tuesday show that Fifa will consider co-hosting by the United States, Canada and Mexico. They are expected bidders for 2026, with the CONCACAF region favored to host for the first time since 1994, when 24 teams played in the U.S.

In his presidential election campaign, Infantino supported expanding the tournament and hosting across a region.

“These two topics will certainly be on the table for discussion,” Infantino said, looking ahead to a meeting of the Fifa Council on Oct. 13-14 in Zurich.

Asked about a potential U.S.-Canada-Mexico project for 2026, the former Uefa general secretary noted that his previous organization chose to hold the 2020 European Championship in 13 different host nations.

“So, there is, I would say, no limit to whatever is good for football,” Infantino said on the sidelines of a meeting of European clubs. “We will see, but it’s true that CONCACAF did not have the World Cup for a long time.”

The 2026 World Cup hosting vote is set for 2020, with Fifa member federations choosing from a shortlist drafted by the ruling council.

“For the moment I think everything is open,” Infantino said. “My opinion on the 40 teams has not changed.”

While at Uefa, Infantino also helped oversee an expanded Euro 2016 with 24 teams for the first time instead of the 16-team format

“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.”