FIFA to expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2026
President Gianni Infantino's favored plan — for 16 three-team groups with the top two advancing to a round of 32 — was unanimously approved Tuesday by the FIFA Council.
It meets Infantino's election pledge of a bigger World Cup, and should help fund promised raises for FIFA's 211 member federations.
FIFA projects an increased profit of $640 million despite some extra operating costs and prize money for teams.
FIFA's six continents should find out by May how many extra places they will each get.
UEFA wants 16 European teams at the tournament, which is strongly favored to be played in North America. The CONCACAF region has not hosted the World Cup since the 1994 tournament in the United States.
American, Canadian and Mexican soccer leaders have had informal talks about a co-hosting bid.
Africa and Asia could be winners in a bigger World Cup with up to nine places each. They had only five and four teams, respectively, at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Still, FIFA said it expects the standard of soccer to drop compared to the 32-team format locked in for the next two World Cups in Russia and Qatar.
The "absolute quality" of play, defined by high-ranked teams facing each other most often, is achieved by 32 teams, FIFA acknowledged in a research document sent to members last month. It made 10,000 tournament simulations to reach that conclusion.
Instead, Infantino wants to create fervor and months of anticipation back home in the 16 extra nations which would qualify, some probably making their World Cup debut. FIFA has pointed to Costa Rica, Wales and Iceland as examples of teams which overachieved at recent tournaments.
FIFA must break with soccer tradition to make its new format work after an original 48-team plan — with an opening playoff round sending 16 "one-and-done" teams home early — was unpopular.
Instead, three-team groups will replace the usual groups of four to create simple progress to a knockout bracket. However, it leaves one team idle for final group games and could risk collusion between the other two teams.
FIFA said it could guard against result-rigging by introducing penalty shootouts after group games that end in draws.
Despite the 16 extra games, FIFA believes the current maximum of stadiums needed will stay at the 12 used by Brazil and Russia. However, the demand for more training bases and hotels means developed countries would be better equipped to win future hosting contests.
North America is the strong favorite for 2026 because European and Asian countries are blocked by a FIFA rule excluding continents which hosted either of the two previous tournaments. Russia will host the World Cup next year and Qatar in 2022.
South America has been focused on a centenary tournament including original 1930 host Uruguay, and African nations are seen as lacking existing capacity and unlikely to fund multi-billion dollar infrastructure spending.
Messi loses Supreme Court appeal over tax-fraud conviction
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Nepal defeated by Malaysia in friendly football match
Nepal's national women's football team has conceded a defeat to the Malaysian women's team in a friendly match played between the two countries in Malaysia today noon. In the match held at Likas Stadium in Kota Kinabalu, the Malaysian team defeated Nepal 4-1.
- Prime Minister Cup Cricket Tournament from May 23
PM Dahal honors gold medalist Maharjan
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal honored Maheshwor Maharjan, who won gold in the 50th Asian Body Building and Sports Championship amid a program in the Capital Wednesday. Speaking at the program organized by All Nepal Sports Association at the PM's official residence in Baluwatar, PM Dahal said the government was committed to trying its best for the development of sports.
Serena Williams writes letter to unborn child
Serena Williams has learned the "true meaning" of peace and serenity since getting pregnant. The 35-year-old tennis player revealed last week she is expecting her first child with fiance Alexis Ohanian and has now written an open letter to the unborn tot to mark both her partner's birthday and returning to number one in the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) rankings.
Oops! Deuba does it again
Deuba and Dahal have made a mockery of the constitutional provision of impeachment as a weapon of last resort with its preemptive registration as a tactical move to stop CJ Karki from delivering justice. This will set a bad precedent and there will be more such tactical use of impeachment in the future considering how justices at the SC are being appointed in political quotas in recent times.
Challenges for reconstruction
One of the major challenges faced in the reconstruction process of Nepal is the absence of elected local government. Lack of government in local level was reflected in the major pre-disaster and post-disaster events, where it took months to reach the affected region and still no widely-accepted data is available. In the absence of an elected local government, top-down approach of governance has its own accountability deficit.
Apil KC/Keshab Sharma
Jhamsikhel as I knew
Hari-ko-pasal, right at the said junction used to be the place to buy any household item ranging from food grains and other household items. There was nothing that he did not have. Most often he loved keeping his customers waiting, more so if they were younger. He kept his client engaged with jokes and tole gossip.
Empowering local bodies
It is common to rent a room or two based on nothing more than a verbal contract. There are two types of owners. There are many who rent legal properties informally and those who rent out illegally built ones. The rental space demand is so much that owners openly flout bylaws by building more number of floors than approved. It is difficult, as it is, to bring both type of owners within the system.
Traffic Police in Kathmandu
As busy and hassling as the traffic system in Kathmandu is, the Traffic Police here have to handle an equally strenuous job. Over 1,400 traffic officers in and around the Kathmandu Valley battle against the pestering traffic and air pollution each day.
Menstrual taboo outdated
I have seen my sisters and friends isolated and treated in discriminatory manner during their first menstruation cycle. They were not allowed to look at the sun, to touch water source, flower, fruits, any male family member, nor even hear their voice. The activist may claim the situation has changed and I do agree but still during every month my loved ones turns into untouchables beings.