The soccer world cup, which is hosted every four years in a different country is the biggest international soccer tournament. In 2014 it was hosted by Brazil and Germany won. The finale was very intense, it was Germany against Argentina. The qualifications usually start for this tournament 2 years before hand. Every world cup so far there has been a limited of 32 countries being able to compete in the final stages.
Fifa has unanimously decided that an addition of 16 countries are able to qualify for the tournament. Meaning there will be 48 countries competing for the World cup. There will be 16 groups. In each group there are 4 countries and 2 countries advance to the knockout stage.
The decision was made by the ruling council on Thursday. The approval to expand to 48 countries met the election pledge of President Gianni Infantino’s to expand the World Cup. The expansion could help raise extra money for the 211 members of FIFA.
Previously each tournament has had 64 matches, however, now with the additional countries being able to qualify the number of matches will be increased to 80. This will create an increase in the income and FIFa has estimated around a £823m higher income because of the broadcasting, sponsorship deals and of course the tickets. The next World Cup in 2018, which is hosted by Russia has an expected income of around £4.5bn.
All of the nationals are able to benefit from this increase of qualifying countries. UEFA has announced it wants 16 European teams in the 2026 tournament. Africa and Asia could also benefit from the expansion. They could each get nine places in the World cup, which is a lot more compared to the World Cup in 2014 where Africa had five and Asia only had four.
The tournament will likely be held in North America. The CONCACAf region, which includes Canada and Central America have not hosted a World cup since 1994 which was held in the US. US, Canada and Mexico have already held talks about a co-hosting bid for the 2026 World Cup.