Gianni Infantino remains convinced that expansion to the World Cup is the tournament’s best option, but now the FIFA president has declared that the world football federations are “overwhelmingly in favor” of an increase from 32 teams.
The FIFA council will meet once more on Jan. 7, where a potential change could be made to the structure of the World Cup in the future. While the 2018, 2022 and 2026 editions of the tournament would likely go unchanged, a deal could still be implemented for expansion to the World Cups that follow in 2030 and beyond.
“I am still convinced to expand the participation in the World Cup more than 32 teams,” Infantino said. “We would still consider increasing the competition to 40 or 48 teams. A tournament to 48 teams would have the same period of the current one, and federations are clearly in favour of a World Cup with more teams.”
Since earning the FIFA presidency, Infantino’s stance has remained non-wavering over World Cup expansion. With the potential for 40 or even 48 teams on the horizon, it seems as though the FIFA boss will get his wish in the near future despite the hesitation from several club teams.
Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has been one of the biggest figures to push back against World Cup expansion as more and more clubs express their concern over player safety and the fact that so many of the game’s top players are scheduled to be involved in so many fixtures for both club and country.
“In the interest of the fans and the players, we urge Fifa not to increase the number of World Cup participants,” Rummenigge said. “Politics and commerce should not be the exclusive priority in football.”Follow @MattReedFutbol