FIFA Asked to Expand World Cup to 48 Teams for Qatar in 2022
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — FIFA was asked by South American soccer's governing body on Thursday to expand the World Cup to 48 teams for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who gained approval last year to increase the number of teams from 32 to 48 from the 2026 tournament, received the request from CONMEBOL to hasten the expansion while attending the confederation's congress.
A formal letter was handed to Infantino signed by CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez and the region's 10 member associations.
Dominguez's Paraguay failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup and this year's edition in Russia.
An early expansion would allow FIFA to generate more revenue to replenish the coffers hit by corruption scandals. But increasing the number of games from 64 to 80 would pose additional logistical challenges for Qatar.
The first World Cup in the Middle East is already operating on a tight 28-day schedule to please club sides after FIFA shifted the event from its usual June-July slot to November-December because of the extreme heat.
Qatar currently has plans to build eight stadiums, whereas bidders for the 48-team 2026 tournament have been told they need 12 venues.
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