FIFA has abandoned plans championed by its president to expand the 2022 World Cup to include 48 teams,
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The expansion proposal, proposed and pressed by FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, might have proved to be a popular one if presented for a vote by FIFA’s member associations at the organization’s annual congress next month in Paris.
The decision ensures that the first 48-team World Cup will be the one awarded to the United States, Mexico and Canada in 2026.
It also will come as a relief to Qatar, which has invested billions in infrastructure and untold amounts of national pride in hosting the first World Cup in the Arab world.
“In line with the conclusions of the feasibility study approved by the FIFA Council at its last meeting, FIFA and Qatar have jointly explored all possibilities to increase the number of participant teams from 32 to 48 teams by involving neighboring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” FIFA said in a statement. “Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.”
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