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All regions get more slots in 2026 World Cup – FIFA plan

Zurich (AFP) – All football regions will see their World Cup slots increased when the tournament expands to 48 teams in 2026, with Africa the biggest winner, according to FIFA recommendations released Thursday. 

The plan to expand the competition beyond its current 32-team format, which is subject to approval at FIFA’s May Congress in Bahrain, guarantees Africa nine places, marking an increase of four.

Asia, currently guaranteed between four and five World Cup entries, will get eight slots, while European confederation UEFA gets a boost from 13 to 16. 

The confederation for North, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF) will have six places, above its current level of between three and four.

South America (CONMEBOL), which now has between four and five slots, will get six, according to the recommendations from FIFA’s ruling council. 

Oceana, which has not been guaranteed an entry in past World Cups, will be assured one spot. 

The January 10 decision to expand the World Cup marked a major victory for FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who has been on the job for just over a year. 

He boasted at the time that under the new format more countries “will have the chance to dream” and that a larger tournament will reflect “the World Cup of the 21st Century”. 

FIFA’s decision to expand the tournament infuriated many in the football world, with some branding it a money grab and a blatant bid by Infantino to win favour among developing world federations who helped elect him. 

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  1. Ivan

    March 30, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Great…we are not that far from Gibraltar, Bhutan, and Turks and Caicos making it to the World Cup (nothing against these countries, I am sure lovely people and all)…FIFA is like in the kinder garden these days – everyone gets a medal for participating…even at 32 countries at the WC, at least 4 or 5 out of those teams were absolutely awful, and did not belong…now with 48 or 200, ot however many they are adding, a good portion of the games will be unwatchable…way to make the biggest tournament in the world less and less relevant, FIFA, you are just an awesome organization…

  2. JN

    March 30, 2017 at 1:35 pm

    At least 1, possibly 2 of the slots being given to CONCACAF should either all go to CONMEBOL or CONMEBOL+ UEFA or Africa. Four guaranteed slots (no play off involved) is plenty for CONCACAF;

  3. NaBUru38

    March 30, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    So Europe will get 16, Asia-Pacific 9, Africa 9, and the Americas 12.

    In any case, too many third rate teams will qualify. First round will be very boring.

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