FIFA president Gianni Infantino has called on African football teams to start getting themselves ready for the 2026 World Cup, when as many as 10 national teams from the continent could possibly participate in the global soccer showpiece.
Two months ago, on the 10thof January, the FIFA Council unanimously approved a new World Cup arrangement, which proposed to increase the number of teams participating in the global soccer tournament from the current 32 to 48 teams. There’s still deliberations on which continent will get the new slots.
Under the new formation, the World Cup competition will feature 16 groups of three teams, from which the top three will progress to the knockout stage. With the added slots, the number of games played at the tournament has automatically increased from the current 64 to 80.
In previous men’s World Cups, Africa had a total of five slots at the men’s World Cup, and there is currently a strong lobby push to increase this.
It’s a tough race
Though Africa has every right to ask for more places on the list of World Cup participants, the continent faces serious competition from other continents, which also want a share of the bounty.
Europe, which currently holds 13 spots want 3 more spots. Asia, on the other hand, expects to gain five more positions, while South America wants a total of six positions.
An expanded list means additional revenue for FIFA, it predicted that the new format will rake in an additional £521 million.