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FIFA expands World Cup teams to 48

Gianni Infantino – New FIFA President

The World Cup will be expanded to host 48 teams, up from 32, the BBC has announced.

An initial stage of 16 groups of three teams will precede a knockout stage for the remaining 32 when the change is made for the 2026 tournament.

The BBC report said the sport’s world governing body, Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), voted unanimously in favour of the change at a meeting in Zurich on Tuesday.

The number of tournament matches will rise to 80, from 64, but the eventual winners will still play only seven games.

The tournament will be completed within 32 days – a measure to appease powerful European clubs, who objected to reform because of a crowded international schedule.

The changes mark the first World Cup expansion since 1998.

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