FIFA president, Gianni Infantino, is pushing for an expansion of the World Cup in twenty-twenty-six to forty-eight teams, with his preferred format being sixteen groups of three teams before a straight knock-out competition.
In a letter to members of the FIFA Council, the governing body’s thirty-two strong executive board, Infantino outlined five different options for consideration at next month’s key meeting in Zurich.
Those choices are leaving the tournament at thirty-two teams, expanding to forty teams with either ten groups of four or eight groups of five, or moving to forty-eight teams with either a thirty-two team play-off round to decide who joins sixteen seeded teams in the current format or sixteen three-team groups.
Infantino, who is determined to increase the number of teams at the finals, favours the latter option after feedback to the three other expansion plans pointed out various flaws.
The 16-group format has the benefit of guaranteeing every team at least two games but does raise concerns about some of the final group-stage matches being dead rubbers.