FIFA have announced that the changes in the format of the World Cup will take effect from 2026
According to their official website, the decision was passed unanimously after the governing body held a third meeting in Zurich over the 9th and 10th of this month. In an official statement posted on their website, FIFA said :
However, there was some controversy as the European Club Association vehemently opposed FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s plans when he announced them. The ECA felt that Infantino’s proposed changes were a result of a political motive rather than a sporting one, and were not pleased once the decision was passed.
The new format means that there will be a total of 80 games. Currently, in the 32-team schedule, 64 matches are played overall. European places at the competition will likely rise from 13 to 16 and Africa and Asia could have as many as nine teams each. At the 2014 World Cup in Brazil they had five and four teams respectively. FIFA could decide by May how many entries each continent has.
The other major decision regarding 2026 – who will host the event – is not scheduled for consideration until 2020. United States are said to be the early favourites, and are plotting a bid that could either feature them as solo hosts or joining up with either Mexico or Canada to host the tournament.