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ALERT: Fifa approves 48-team World Cup starting in 2026

Gianni Infantino has proposed a 48-team format with an initial round of 16 groups of three teams.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino in Zurich. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG – Fifa has unanimously decided on a 48-team World Cup as of 2026, this means a total 16 groups of 3 teams.

Late last year, Fifa president Gianni Infantino said football federations were overwhelmingly in favour of expanding the existing 32-nation World Cup.

The global football federation boss wanted 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.

Infantino has proposed a 48-team format with an initial round of 16 groups of three teams.

The top two teams from each group would qualify for a round of 32 knockout stage, then round of 16, quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

There would be little to no impact on players under the proposed format with the winning team still playing seven games in 32 days as they do in the current 32-team World Cup, the Fifa boss argued.

A total of 80 games would be played compared with the current 64 games.

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

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