FIFA President Gianni Infantino during a media briefing.(REUTERS)
FIFA President Gianni Infantino during a media briefing.(REUTERS)

FIFA drops plans for 48-team 2022 World Cup in Qatar

FIFA said it had abandoned the expansion plans “following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process” which led to the conclusion that “under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now”.
By Agence France-Presse | Lausanne
UPDATED ON MAY 23, 2019 06:28 AM IST

FIFA shelved a proposed expansion of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams on Wednesday, dealing a blow to the world football body’s president Gianni Infantino.

The 2022 tournament in the Gulf state will now be played with 32 nations taking part.

FIFA said it had abandoned the expansion plans “following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process” which led to the conclusion that “under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now”.

“(The tournament) will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June,” FIFA said in a statement.

The expansion was a pet project of Infantino, who pushed the idea despite the likely need for Qatar’s neighbours to put aside a two-year blockade and help to host an expanded tournament.

“The involvement of these countries in the organisation of the tournament jointly with Qatar implies the lifting of this blockade, in particular the lifting of restrictions on the movement of people and goods,” said a feasibility study submitted to March’s FIFA Congress in Miami.

The study, seen by AFP, also claimed that a Qatar World Cup with 48 teams would generate “between $300-$400 million (265-354 million euros) of additional income”.

Specifically FIFA was counting on an additional $120 million in TV rights, $150 million in marketing rights and $90 million from ticket sales.

The news comes after Europe’s top football clubs said in March they would boycott an expanded 24-team Club World Cup -- also backed by Infantino -- which is planned to take place in June and July 2021, replacing the Confederations Cup tournament.

Complicated proposition

An announcement of the final decision had not been expected until next month’s FIFA Congress to be held in Paris ahead of the women’s World Cup that takes place in France between June 7 and July 7.

FIFA said it had examined the possibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament on its own, but a study “concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June”.

FIFA has dropped the plan to expand the 2022 tournament despite recommending in March that the number of teams should be raised to 48 for that tournament, ahead of the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Expanding the competition for the 2022 tournament was always a complicated proposition. FIFA had sounded out potential co-hosts in the region willing to support Qatar, which is subject to an ongoing embargo by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and their allies.

Qatar’s Supreme Committee, charged with the organisation of the tournament, said in reaction to FIFA’s decision that “Qatar had always been open to the idea of an expanded tournament in 2022 had a viable operating model been found and had all parties concluded that an expanded 48-team edition was in the best interest of football and Qatar as the host nation.”

But it said there was insufficient time to make a deeper assessment before the June deadline and “it was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.”

“With just three and a half years to go until kick off, Qatar remains as committed as ever to ensuring the 32-team FIFA World Cup in 2022 is one of the best tournaments ever and one that makes the entire Arab world proud,” the Supreme Committee said.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut all ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of supporting Iran and Islamist groups.

Qatar vehemently denies the charges and says Saudi Arabia and its allies are aiming to incite government change in the emirate, the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas.

Gulf states Kuwait and Oman have not taken sides in the crisis. However, Oman said in April it was “not ready” to host matches.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
app
Close
Soccer Football - FA Cup - Fourth Round - Chelsea v Luton Town - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - January 24, 2021 Chelsea's Tammy Abraham celebrates scoring their third goal and completing his hat-trick with teammates Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley(Action Images via Reuters)
Soccer Football - FA Cup - Fourth Round - Chelsea v Luton Town - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - January 24, 2021 Chelsea's Tammy Abraham celebrates scoring their third goal and completing his hat-trick with teammates Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley(Action Images via Reuters)

Abraham's hattrick sends Chelsea through in FA Cup

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 09:57 PM IST
The striker took his tally on the season to 11 by netting twice in seven first-half minutes. Jordan Clark profited from the struggling Kepa Arrizabalaga's latest goalkeeping error to reduce the deficit to 2-1 on the half-hour before Abraham struck again in the 74th minute.
Close
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil(REUTERS)
Arsenal's Mesut Ozil(REUTERS)

Ozil says he leaves Arsenal for Fenerbahce with no grudges

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 09:03 PM IST
Ozil said goodbye to his Arsenal teammates a week ago and his move to Turkey has now been wrapped up.
Close
Jamshedpur FC vs Hyderabad FC(ISL)
Jamshedpur FC vs Hyderabad FC(ISL)

Hyderabad FC split points with Jamshedpur FC with goal-less draw

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 07:53 PM IST
Hyderabad FC split points with Jamshedpur FC with goal-less draw
Close
Aston Villa's Ezri Konsa, left, holds off Newcastle's Callum Wilson.(AP)
Aston Villa's Ezri Konsa, left, holds off Newcastle's Callum Wilson.(AP)

Villa climb into top 10 of EPL after beating Newcastle 2-0

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:42 AM IST
Club-record signing Ollie Watkins scored for the first time in 10 matches to set Villa on its way to all three points with a 13th-minute strike, before Bertrand Traore doubled the lead shortly before halftime on Saturday.
Close
Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Deportivo Alaves v Real Madrid - Estadio Mendizorroza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain - January 23, 2021 Deportivo Alaves' Joselu scores their first goal REUTERS/Vincent West(REUTERS)
Soccer Football - La Liga Santander - Deportivo Alaves v Real Madrid - Estadio Mendizorroza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain - January 23, 2021 Deportivo Alaves' Joselu scores their first goal REUTERS/Vincent West(REUTERS)

Hazard shines for Madrid without Zidane; En-Nesyri hat trick

AP, Barcelona
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:31 AM IST
Hazard grazed a long pass to redirect the ball to Benzema, who doubled the lead for Madrid in the 41st after Casemiro had headed in the 15th-minute opener on Saturday.
Close
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.(Pool via REUTERS)
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.(Pool via REUTERS)

Klopp says Burnley shock can spark Liverpool turnaround

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 09:10 AM IST
Liverpool are fourth with 34 points at the halfway stage of the league campaign, six points behind leaders Manchester United whom they face later on Sunday in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Close
Real Madrid's Eden Hazard.(REUTERS)
Real Madrid's Eden Hazard.(REUTERS)

Lively Hazard on way back to form but needs more confidence

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 09:08 AM IST
Making only his fifth start of the campaign after three spells out with injuries or illness, Hazard notched Madrid's third goal before halftime, expertly controlling a Toni Kroos pass before producing a confident finish.
Close
Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp walks dejected following the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Burnley in Liverpool.(AP)
Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp walks dejected following the English Premier League soccer match between Liverpool and Burnley in Liverpool.(AP)

Ahead of United tie, Liverpool left red in the face

By Bhargab Sarmah
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 08:37 AM IST
  • Ashley Barnes’ 83rd minute penalty ended the Reds’ 68-match unbeaten run at home in the Premier League that stretched back to April, 2017.
Close
Kerala vs Goa(ISL)
Kerala vs Goa(ISL)

Playing with 10 men, Goa hold on for a point against Kerala

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 10:47 PM IST
Goa were reduced to 10 men in the second half after Ivan Gonzalez received marching orders following two yellow cards within a span of seconds.
Close
Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe (REUTERS)
Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe (REUTERS)

Mbappe's PSG future uncertain as he hesitates over new deal

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 10:12 PM IST
After his brace in the 4-0 win against Montpellier took him to 14 goals — and 106 overall for PSG — the 22-year-old Mbappe said he has yet to decide whether to sign a new deal.
Close
Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli shoots towards goal, during the FA Cup fourth round soccer match between Southampton and Arsenal, at St. Mary's Stadium, in Southampton, England, Saturday Jan. 23, 2021.(AP)
Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli shoots towards goal, during the FA Cup fourth round soccer match between Southampton and Arsenal, at St. Mary's Stadium, in Southampton, England, Saturday Jan. 23, 2021.(AP)

Holders Arsenal knocked out of FA Cup at Southampton

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 08:00 PM IST
The Gunners' defence of the trophy they won by beating Chelsea last August ended with something of a whimper as Mikel Arteta's side struggled with repeatedly sloppy defending.
Close
Soccer Football - Spanish Super Cup - Semi Final - Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - Nuevo Arcangel, Cordoba, Spain - January 13, 2021 Real Sociedad's Willian Jose reacts after missing a penalty during the penalty shootout REUTERS/Jon Nazca/Files(REUTERS)
Soccer Football - Spanish Super Cup - Semi Final - Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - Nuevo Arcangel, Cordoba, Spain - January 13, 2021 Real Sociedad's Willian Jose reacts after missing a penalty during the penalty shootout REUTERS/Jon Nazca/Files(REUTERS)

Wolves sign striker Willian José on loan from Real Sociedad

PTI
UPDATED ON JAN 23, 2021 06:06 PM IST
The loan signing adds depth to the Wolves squad after forward Raúl Jiménez suffered a fractured skull against Arsenal on Nov. 29.
Close
FILE PHOTO: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.(Pool via REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.(Pool via REUTERS)

Arteta hopes Arsenal have learned from Ozil, Sokratis exits

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 10:12 AM IST
"You don't want to get into this position again, that's for sure. Not for the player, not for the club. But it's happening more and more at every club," Arteta told reporters ahead of Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round clash at Southampton.
Close
Football representational image(HT Image)
Football representational image(HT Image)

Wolverhampton edges past 6th-tier Chorley 1-0 in FA Cup

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 08:19 AM IST
  • The Premier League millionaires also only managed a single shot — the goal — against the part-timers from the sixth tier.
Close
Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino with Kylian Mbappe.(REUTERS)
Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino with Kylian Mbappe.(REUTERS)

Mbappe brace as PSG routs Montpellier 4-0, Pochettino back

AP
PUBLISHED ON JAN 23, 2021 07:46 AM IST
  • PSG moved three points clear of second-place Lille, which can move level on points by winning at fifth-place Rennes on Sunday but has a vastly inferior goal difference.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP