Infantino defends 48-team World Cup: More countries can dream

European figures unhappy with change

Posted Wednesday, January 11, 2017 by

Infantino defends 48-team World Cup: More countries can dream

After winning the vote on his proposal to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from 2026, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has spoken of the optimism it will provide smaller countries.

The additional 12 teams qualifying for the showpiece will chiefly come from Asia, North America, and Africa, with the Swiss chief stating that Europe and South America must share the spotlight on the global stage.

"More countries can dream," expressed Infantino to reporters after the announcement. "There is nothing bigger in terms of boosting football in a country than participating in a World Cup.

"We must design the competition to the 21st Century, football is not just for Europe and Latin America.

"The good thing is that the expanded tournament will still take place in 32 days and 12 stadiums, with the winning team required to play just seven games."

While admitting that the official extra allocation to each confederation is yet to be determined, the FIFA president addressed claims that money was the driving force behind the decision.

"It's hard to know what the economic situation will be in a few years," he said.

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