FIFA abandons its plans to expand the 2022 World Cup in Qatar
In a recent Media release, FIFA announced that due to logistical and political complexities, it will not expand the World Cup in Qatar from 32 to 48 teams.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino wanted to organize the World Cup with 48 teams instead of 32 from this upcoming edition onwards. In addition, FIFA voted in January to include 48 countries in the 2026 World Cup, up from the standard 32. FIFA had stated that the new format would feature 16 groups, each consisting of three teams, with the top two from each pool advancing to the knockout stages. The knockout stages would begin with a round of 32 rather than a round of 16.
Although the plan was passed, Infantino announced in March that the sport’s governing body would continue researching whether implementing the idea for 2022 was. FIFA released a statement today affirming that the 2022 World Cup will be a 32-team tournament as originally planned.
It's official. FIFA releases a statement saying that the 2022 World Cup will NOT be expanded to 48 teams. The World Cup in Qatar will be the last with 32 teams before expansion in 2026. pic.twitter.com/qJYIa0JBim
— James Montague (@JamesPiotr) May 22, 2019
With the event just three years away, it seems that Qatari organizers did not feel that there was enough time for them to be able to carry out studies on the logistical impact of an expanded competition. Though it is still unclear, the 2026 World Cup hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico will most likely be the first with 48 sides.
The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be the first-ever World Cup to take place in the winter rather than the summer. This was implemented in order to avoid any issues with Qatar’s extreme heat during the summer. The tournament will be played in a record 28 days, starting on November 21st and ending on December 18th.
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