FIFA to decide on expanding World Cup field to 40 teams

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What’s one way to make the World Cup even better? Add more teams and play more matches.

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FIFA is set to decide on expanding the field to 40 teams, although the expansion would not happen until the 2026 World Cup. Since 1998, 32 teams have played in the tournament.

If the field were to be expanded, groups would consist of five teams rather than four. That would add 32 more matches to the group stage, having the tournament last a week longer.

Despite discussing the matter at a FIFA executive meeting on Thursday, a final decision was deferred until more research on the matter is completed.

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Ironically, the idea was originally proposed by Michel Platini in 2013. Platini is currently suspended and under investigation by FIFA for possible links to corruption.

The expansion has been supported by the African and Asian federations, as the 40-team format would allow more nations from those continents to qualify. Under the current structure, each continent is allotted a a certain number of spots at the World Cup: Europe 13, Asia 4.5, South America 4.5, CONCACAF 3.5, Oceania 0.5, and host country 1.