FIFA - The Day That Football Changed Forever


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On Tuesday, 10th January 2017, FIFA's council made the unpopular decision to expand the World Cup from 32 teams to 48 teams.

I'm Nick Chenery (@SportyPigF1) and I'll be writing about what this means for the game of football and what the future World Cup tournaments could look like.

As I've mentioned already, from 2026 the World Cup (wherever it ends up being played) will now have 48 teams in it. That's a tournament total of 80 games, 16 more than we have now in the current format. 16 groups of 3 teams too which means that the bottom teams in each group will only play two games.

There's another side to this unpopular but rather expected news that the vote went through, though. The tournament, like the last 5 and the 2 tournaments to come, will still be completed within 32 days and the winner will still only have to play 7 games to lift the trophy. More games per day than we have now.

Gianni Infantino, being the current FIFA president, was the man behind the move, saying the World Cup has to be "more inclusive". GI explained at a recent sports conference in Dubai that the expansion benefits "the development of football all over the world" adding that "the biggest thing a country can do in terms of football development is appear at a World Cup". To be fair, he has a point.

However, there is always money involved in these decisions and given the money related news to come out of FIFA in the past few years, its no wonder that fans and people who love the game are tweeting/saying that FIFA are only doing it for the money.

Despite saying "the decision should not just be financially driven", Infantino did highlight the possible financial upsides. According to Fifa's own research, revenue is predicted to increase to £5.29bn for a 48-team tournament, giving a potential profit rise of £521m.

So, if England need a win to qualify from the group stage, do we settle for a draw and then hope we're better at taking penalties by 2026?

Thomas Frost

Drawn group games decided by penalties! What are we, fucking Americans?! Draws are a part of football. Football is well and truly screwed now.

Either way, the news this morning doesn't sit well with anybody, other than FIFA. WIll the expansion prove to be any better for the quality of football etc? Judging by the Euro's in 2016 probably not but we'll have a load of new teams and, while it's highly unlikely, a new winner? I really hope FIFA finally know what they're doing.

By way of the amount of countries that each continent can take from 2026, each of CONCACAF, Asia, South America, Oceania and Africa will all be able to take almost double the amount of teams it can now. Europe, however, can only take 3 more than they can now.

Alan Wilson

Well, there go Scotland's chances

Stephen Florentz (@stephenflorentz)

Ughhh CONCACAF is so top-heavy, they don't need 6.5 spots, but there are rumblings of a possible CONCACAF/CONMEBOL merger somewhere down the line, so would they get 12.5 spots between them? That wouldn't be as bad and Qualifier's would still be pretty interesting.