Fifa World Cup expansion vote Q+A: What are the proposals and how do they work?

 
Frank Dalleres
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Germany v Argentina: 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Final
The World Cup is set for its first expansion this century (Source: Getty)

Fifa's Council is expected to approve plans to expand the World Cup to a record 48 teams from 2026 when it meets to vote on the issue on Tuesday.

Here is the lowdown on how it works.

What is being proposed?

The first expansion of the World Cup since 1998, from 32 teams to 48. The new format would take effect in 2026 and would see teams divided into 16 groups of three instead of eight groups of four.

Is it going to happen?

Fifa president Gianni Infantino is confident his plans have overwhelming support and England’s Football Association has indicated it is resigned to the changes being approved.

What happens on Tuesday?

The 37 members of the Fifa Council vote on five possible formats for future World Cups, but after months of consulting and lobbying there is only one that is thought likely to be passed.

What are the alternatives?

Keep the existing format; expand to 40 teams in eight groups of five; expand to 40 teams in 10 groups of four; and expand to 48 teams with an initial knockout round to trim 16 teams.

What’s this about penalties in the group stage?

One solution to possible problems thrown up by three-team groups is to ensure each fixture has a winner. Whether that is adopted or not won’t be decided at Tuesday’s vote.

Who will get the extra places?

That won’t be decided on Tuesday either, but Africa, Asia and the Americas all want healthy increases on their allocations, while Europe is set for only a modest rise on its current 13 places.

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