The world governing body for football, FIFA has abandoned the plans to host a 46-team World Cup in 2022. Now, the Qatar edition of football’s biggest quadrennial competition will be played between 32-teams.
FIFA in a Press release has confirmed that the proposal to enhance the World Cup to 42 teams cannot be implemented under the current circumstances.
“In line with the conclusions of the feasibility study approved by the FIFA Council at its last meeting, FIFA and Qatar have jointly explored all possibilities to increase the number of participant teams from 32 to 48 teams by involving neighbouring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
“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 has stated.
“Additionally, FIFA and Qatar have once again explored the feasibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament by in particular lowering certain key FIFA requirements. A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June. It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino had been pushing to expand the tournament after the likes of Italy, Holland, United States, Chile and Cameroon did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He also was keen to give more countries from Asia the chance to participate.
The decision not to expand the tournament in Qatar means the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico will be the first 48-team event.
The 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup is scheduled to be played in Qatar from Novemer 21 to December 18 in Qatar.