40-team World Cup? Co-hosting nations? Fifa president Gianni Infantino open to changes

“These two topics will certainly be on the table for discussion,” Infantino said, looking ahead to a meeting of the Fifa Council on October 13-14 in Zurich.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino. AFP
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GENEVA // Fifa President Gianni Infantino is open to a 40-team World Cup in 2026, with several countries serving as co-hosts.

Infantino’s comments on Tuesday show that Fifa will consider co-hosting by the United States, Canada and Mexico. They are expected bidders for 2026, with the Concacaf region favoured to host for the first time since 1994, when 24 teams played in the US.

In his presidential election campaign, Infantino supported expanding the tournament and hosting across a region.

“These two topics will certainly be on the table for discussion,” Infantino said, looking ahead to a meeting of the Fifa Council on October 13-14 in Zurich.

Asked about a potential US-Canada-Mexico project for 2026, the former Uefa general secretary said that his previous organisation chose to hold the 2020 European Championship in 13 different host nations.

“So, there is, I would say, no limit to whatever is good for football,” Infantino said on the sidelines of a meeting of European clubs. “We will see, but it’s true that Concacaf did not have the World Cup for a long time.”

The 2026 World Cup hosting vote is set for 2020, with Fifa member federations choosing from a shortlist drafted by the ruling council.

“For the moment I think everything is open,” Infantino said. “My opinion on the 40 teams has not changed.”

While at Uefa, Infantino also helped oversee an expanded Euro 2016 with 24 teams for the first time instead of the 16-team format

“We have seen it again at the Euro in France with eight more teams, what kind of enthusiasm this generated in many, many countries,” he said. “We need to realise that these kind of events are more than just a competition, they are real social events in the whole world.”

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