FIFA Abandons Plans for 2022 World Cup Expansion, Keeps Event at 32 Teams

President Gianni Infantino has abandoned plans to try to expand the World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams.
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The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is set to remain at 32 teams, the federation announced on Wednesday.

According to the release, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has abandoned plans to expand the event in Qatar to 48 teams and play some games in neighboring countries in the Middle East. He has reluctantly accepted that it would be too challenging to do so.

"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," FIFA said.

FIFA previously conducted a feasibility study that said Qatar could not be forced to share games with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates unless those countries restored ties with Doha. Because of their neutrality in the Gulf's diplomatic crisis, Kuwait and Oman were indicated to be potential options to host games in 2022, but FIFA was unable to thoroughly assess the countries' stadium infrastructure.

As a result of the decision, the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico will be the first 48-team event. 

Infantino is expected to formally announce the decision at FIFA's congress in Paris on June 5.