FIFA to debate expanding tournament to 40 teams….

The World Cup trophy

FIFA will debate a proposal to expand the World Cup from 32 teams to 40. The change can be approved by FIFA’s executive committee without consent from the 209 member associations, and could come into effect from 2026. The proposal will be discussed later on Thursday in Zurich, where a meeting is taking place focused on reforms of world football’s governing body. Earlier, two “high-ranking”¬†FIFA officials were arrested in the Swiss city on suspicion of taking bribes. The pair, yet to be named, are alleged to have taken money for selling marketing rights in connection with football tournaments in Latin America, as well as World Cup qualifying matches. They were arrested on the opening day of FIFA’s Exco meeting, at which the potential expansion of the World Cup for the first time since 1998 will be discussed. France ’98 featured 32 teams, up from the 24 that had qualified for every World Cup since 1982. An additional eight entrants would create an extra 32 matches, which could require the month-long tournament to be extended by a week. The first round of the tournament, which sees teams split into eight groups of four, would also need to be adjusted. The European Championship – to be held in France in June – will include 24 teams, a rise from the 16 to have taken part in every tournament since 1996.

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