Gianni Infantino proposes 48-team, 16-group World Cup format

Sergei Fadeichev

LONDON (AP) — FIFA President Gianni Infantino has suggested having 16 three-team groups if the World Cup expands to 48 countries.

Members of the FIFA Council received a recommendation from the governing body setting out four proposed formats, including sticking to a 32-team World Cup. But Infantino wants to add 16 teams. He previously suggested a 32-team knockout round before the group stage, when the other 16 finalists enter—an idea that sparked opposition.

If the new plan is approved by the FIFA Council at a meeting next month, the World Cup would expand to 48 nations from 2026, and the top two teams from the 16 groups would advance to a new round of 32.

The recommendation letter to council members also set out a format for a 40-team World Cup.

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