FIFA drops the idea of a 2022 World Cup with 48 teams
For logistical and political reasons, FIFA has decided to forget its plan to extend the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams.
To see the World Cup being played with 48 teams and not 32, we will still have to wait a while. Adopted for the 2026 edition in North America, this format was also recently considered for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Gianni Infantino and his disciples studied the “feasibility” of this change for the next edition of the world’s leading competition. In the end, they came to the conclusion that this was not feasible.
According to “The Times”, after much consideration, FIFA has abandoned the project. It was decided to maintain the Qatari World Cup with 32 teams, following the current qualification system and distribution.
According to the English source, what forced the international instances change their minds were the various geopolitical obstacles that might arise in this case. Qatar being a small nation in terms of size, it would have been impossible for them to host so many matches in such a short period of time (80 instead of 64). The first idea was to relocate some meetings to neighbors in the Gulf. However, the situation in the region is complicated with a lot of tension and only Kuwait, with its limited resources, could have provided assistance.
It is on 5 of June at the FIFA Congress that Gianni Infantino is expected to announce that the 2022 World Cup will be played in its traditional format, to the great displeasure of smaller nations who were hoping for an extension in order to have more chances to qualify.
It should be noted that the qualifying rounds for the Qatari World Cup will begin on June 6 with the first qualifying round in Asia. The 12 lowest ranked teams on the continent by FIFA will compete in knockout matches per pair of round-trip matches to reduce the number of teams participating in the second round to 40.