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2026 FIFA World Cup expanded to 48 teams

The FIFA Council has unanimously decided in favour of expanding the FIFA World Cup™ to a 48-team competition as of the 2026 edition.

World football’s supervisory and strategic body held its third meeting at the Home of FIFA in Zurich on 9 and 10 January, and decided on a new tournament format with the 48 national teams split into 16 groups of three.

The top two teams from each group will then advance to a 32-team knockout stage.

The new 48-team competition format has been drawn up in such a way that there is no reduction in the overall number of rest days and a guaranteed maximum of seven matches for the teams reaching the final, while the current 32-day tournament duration is kept, so as not to increase the length of time for which clubs have to release their players.

The decision was taken following a thorough analysis, based on a report that included four different format options.

The study took into account such factors as sporting balance, competition quality, impact on football development, infrastructure, projections on financial position and the consequences for event delivery.

Over the course of its next meetings, the FIFA Council is set to discuss further details regarding the competition, including the slot allocation per confederation.

8 Comments to 2026 FIFA World Cup expanded to 48 teams

  1. Billy says:

    Good one. It will actually help many teams to be exposed to world cup. And the team that will win it will surely deserve it, out of the many teams that will qualify. It will also improve revenue to FIFA. I hope this was effect for the 2022 world cup. But it will only start in 2026, which is too far.

  2. Does this mean Africa will have an extra slot or what 5 teams is not enough

  3. Big Steve 4rm SA says:

    I hope they bump up the African slots to at least 8

  4. Syd says:

    Africa will have extra 4 slots for what I have heard so tail of 9 which I think is fair for the continent this size

  5. South Afric referee says:

    You Guys will still not qualify even if they increase it to 100. Forget about watching the Chipolopolo at the World Cup! Thus reality, wake up from your slumber! You have dreamt for far long, If you get lucky, your great grand Children will watch the Chipolopolo at the world Cup , not you guys in this lifetime!


      Its better not to qualify than being handed a fraudulent spot in 2010 and end up being knocked out in the group stage including a free AFCON Cup.

  6. Jbs SIMUBENARD says:

    Africa we be given 10 slots while uefa we remain on 13 slots

  7. Billy says:

    Africa will increase by 4 to 9 slots. Eufa will increase by three to 16.

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