In Brief

Qatar 2022 World Cup: Fifa plan expansion to 48 teams

Infantino backs the proposals - but it would require Qatar to share hosting duties

Fifa president Gianni Infantino is in favour of expanding the Qatar 2022 World Cup finals from 32 teams to 48.  

The increase in teams has already been decided for the 2026 World Cup and the BBC reports that Infantino “is now considering doing the same for 2022”.

“If it is possible, why not?” said Infantino. “We have to see if it is possible, if it is feasible. We are discussing with our Qatari friends, we are discussing with our many other friends in the region and we hope that this can happen.

“And, if not, we will have tried. We will have tried because we always have to try to do things in a better way.”

Regional politics

If Fifa is to expand the 2022 World Cup then this would require Qatar to share hosting duties with other Gulf nations.

The Daily Telegraph says that Qatar is currently “at loggerheads” with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates so Infantino is facing “an impossible diplomatic job”.

Speaking to the Telegraph, Dr Neil Quilliam, a project director for Future Dynamics of the Gulf at Chatham House, said: “Forget the football, it’s hard to see a breakthrough of any sort. These plans are dead in the water.”

Middle Eastern World Cup

Despite Fifa’s expansion proposals, Qatar will continue to work towards a 32-team tournament, Al Jazeera reports.

Nasser al-Khater, assistant secretary-general of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, told the Doha-based broadcaster: “Technically speaking, everything is possible. It’s just that we need to understand the format, how it’s going to change, how many days would be increased for the 48-team World Cup and we take it from there.

“We are going to keep an open-door policy as we have been. We welcome everybody to come to Qatar and we still remain a Middle Eastern World Cup.”

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