ZURICH: FIFA president Gianni Infantino has cooled speculation about a rush to a 48-team World Cup in Qatar in 2022 writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
The head of the world football federation was responding to questions following the recent request for consideration of the idea by the South American confederation CONMEBOL.
FIFA is scheduled to expand the finals from 32 to 48 teams at the finals in 2026 which will be hosted in Morocco or the United States plus Canada and Mexico.
The annual FIFA congress in Moscow next week may be asked to decide whether a feasibility study should be undertaken. Expansion would be a challenge at short notice for Qatar, due to become the smallest nation ever to host the finals.
Infantino said: “For the moment, we have a World Cup with 32 teams which will be played in Qatar, that is the current situation. CONMEBOL made an interesting request… so we will have to look into it.
“More teams means more stadiums, more venues, more hotels, more transportation. Whether this is possible only in Qatar is a question mark and this should be looked into.”
He added: “You need many people to agree on going down that road and I think it’s premature. It’s not likely it could change but I don’t think we should be worried of discussing proposals.
“We have a contract with the Qataris, they have been awarded the World Cup with 32 teams. Contracts are there to be respected but there is nothing wrong in discussing.”