FIFA to rethink new format after Qatar World Cup success

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said that they are reconsidering format of the 2026 World Cup after success in Qatar
FIFA are going to reconsider the format for the 2026 World Cup
FIFA are going to reconsider the format for the 2026 World Cup

(Football news) FIFA will reconsider the new format of the 2026 World Cup which will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada after the resounding success of the Qatar World Cup. As per the new format, the number of teams that will compete in the World Cup will increase from 32 to 48, which means that instead of 12 groups of four teams, there will be 16 groups of three teams with the top two of each group progressing into the Round of 32.

Speaking about reconsidering the new format, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said “Here the groups of four have been absolutely incredible. Until the last minute of the last match you would not know who goes through. We have to revisit or at least re-discuss the format. This is something that will certainly be on the agenda in the next meeting. Thanks to everyone involved, Qatar, and all the volunteers to make this the best World Cup ever.

“Matches have been played without incidents. It has been a very joyful atmosphere. There is something happening when we talk about football becoming truly global, with an African team [Morocco] reaching the semi-final for the first time. We also had a woman [Stephanie Frappart] referee a match for the first time. It has been an incredible success, approaching five billion in terms of viewing figures. The fans meeting the Arab world, it has been very important for the future of all of us.

“When it comes to regulations, prohibitions, it is not about prohibiting, it is about respecting regulations. Everyone is free to express beliefs as long as it is done in a respectful way but when it comes to the field of play, you need to respect and protect football. There are 211 football teams, not heads of state, and their fans want to come and enjoy football. This is what we are here for.

“I believe we are defending values, defending human rights, defending rights of everyone in Fifa, in the World Cup. But I also believe these fans who come to the stadium and all those billions watching on TV maybe – and we should think about that – they feel everyone has their own problems, they just want to spend 90 minutes without having to think about anything else other than just enjoying a little moment of pleasure, joy or emotion.”

The FIFA World Cup has featured a four team Group Stage format since 1998 when the tournament first featured 32 teams. Infantino said that 3.27 million spectators attended the games in Qatar as compared to 3.3 million in the 2018 World Cup in Russia. A number of European clubs had decided to wear OneLove armbands to promote diversity and inclusion but decided against it due to possible sanctions by FIFA. The World Cup has had its fair share of controversies, especially regarding Qatar’s treatment of migrant workers but there can be no doubt, the tournament has been a success from a sporting standpoint.

Also read: Fernando Santos set to leave the Portuguese national team after 8 years


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