London (AFP) – Damian Collins, co-founder of the campaign group for FIFA reform, New FIFA Now, criticised Tuesday’s decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams, telling AFP it was taken for financial and not sporting reasons.
The 42-year-old — who is also a lawmaker for the ruling British Conservative Party — said football’s showpiece would be turned from a sporting spectacle into an endurance competition and put extra strain on the players.
“This is not being done for the best of sporting reasons,” he told AFP by phone.
“It is being done purely for financial reasons.
“It is going to be too long, going to put a strain on the players physical stamina and will not be very interesting in its early stages.”
Collins dismissed the notion, which bodies such as the Scottish Football Association has raised, that it would offer relative minnows the chance to pull off exploits like Iceland and Wales achieved at the expanded Euro 2016.
Iceland knocked out England and Wales reached the semi-finals where they lost to eventual champions Portugal.
“It is not going to be what it has been in the past — an elite competition,” said Collins.
“It was meant to be the final phase after two years of qualifying with the 32 best teams in the world from their respective continents.
“Now it will just be an endurance competition.”
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