FIFA president Gianni Infantino came out last week with a new proposal to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams for 2026. In Infantino’s plan, there would be a one-game playoff for 32 of the 48 teams that before the group stage would start with the traditional 32 countries.
As a result, there would be 80 total games instead of the current 64. The final decision will be made in January.
A FIFA Council source says the biggest concern is that 16 teams would only get to play one game at the World Cup and wonders if fans from those countries will risk traveling around the world for just one game. There are also concerns about how European clubs might react and how host countries might logistically handle 48 teams.
CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani came out in support of an expanded World Cup this week, telling the AP: "There are traditionalists in the game who I think, if it was up to them, would still have a 16-team World Cup. The reality is that the World Cup is not just an economic beast, but a product that inspires hope for countries. So if we can improve it, make it bigger without losing its romanticism, why not?"