World’s football governing body FIFA on Wednesday decided against the expansion of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar from 32 to 48 teams, reports www.aclsports.com
FIFA president Gianni Infantino had proposed expanding the tournament before the 2026 edition which will definitely have forty-eight teams in attendance but the sport’s world ruling body has now determined that it is not practicable.
“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 neighbouring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” begun a FIFA statement on Wednesday night.
“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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A FIFA internal report in March concluded that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia cannot join as co-hosts unless they restore the economic and travel ties with Qatar that were severed two years ago.
“Additionally, FIFA and Qatar have once again explored the feasibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament by in particular lowering certain key FIFA requirements.
“A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June. It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.
“The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June,” concluded the FIFA statement.
The tournament, the first to be held in an all-Muslim nation will hold from November 21 to December 18, 2022 in at least eight stadiums in Qatar.