2022 World Cup: Final decision on 48-team tournament set for June, says Fifa

Fifa Council meeting in Miami on Friday will give verdict on internal feasibility study which supports increasing number of teams in Qatar from 32 to 48

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 27, 2019 FIFA President Gianni Infantino poses with the official ball of the 2019 Women's World Cup during a press conference at the end of the FIFA Executive Football Summit in Rome. An expanded 48-team World Cup in 2022 would deliver a financial windfall of up to $400 million according to an internal feasibility study commissioned by FIFA, a source with knowledge of the document told AFP on March 12, 2019. The ruling council of football's global governing body meets in Miami this week with the issue of the 2022 World Cup format in Qatar expected to dominate discussions.FIFA President Gianni Infantino is a notable supporter of increasing the size of the tournament from 32 teams to 48 teams, accelerating an expansion which was first due to take place at the 2026 tournament.
 / AFP / Alberto PIZZOLI
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Fifa chiefs will decide on Friday whether to back an expansion of the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams, but a final decision will only be taken at a meeting in Paris in June, sources said on Thursday.

The Fifa Council meeting in Miami on Friday will give its verdict on an internal feasibility study which supported increasing the number of teams at the 2022 tournament in Qatar from 32 to 48.

However, a final vote on increasing the number of teams at the football showpiece would only be taken at a full Congress meeting of football's global governing body on June 6. Any declaration of support by the council on Friday would acknowledge that expansion in 2022 can only take place if one or more countries in Qatar's neighbourhood are able to host games.

The New York Times reported a week ago that Oman and Kuwait could host some matches under Fifa plans.

Fifa president Gianni Infantino is an enthusiastic supporter of expanding the 2022 World Cup, bringing forward an increase in the number of teams which had initially been planned for the 2026 finals staged in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The increase in teams will see the tournament feature 80 matches instead of the 64 used in a traditional 32-team World Cup.

For the 2026 tournament in North America, 60 games will be held in the United States with Canada and Mexico getting 10 games each. A similar division is anticipated for 2022, with Qatar retaining the bulk of the matches.

A Fifa document on Thursday said an expanded 2022 tournament would use the same format planned for 2026, with the six regional confederations would receive the same number of qualifying slots allocated for the tournament in North America.