FIFA to make final decision on expanding 2022 World Cup in June

The FIFA Council has approved working with Qatar to explore expanding the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams by adding at least one more country in the Persian Gulf to host matches.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants to enlarge the tournament from 32 to 48 teams, which a feasibility study has shown requires at least one additional country being used out of five identified.

FIFA will now produce a proposal with Qatar to take to the next council and congress meetings in June in Paris.

The World Cup is already growing to 48 teams from 2026, when the tournament will be co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.

A FIFA feasibility study says Qatar would not be forced to share games with Bahrain, Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates unless those countries restore diplomatic and travel ties with Doha.

Because of their neutrality in the situation, Kuwait and Oman are indicated to be the possible options to host games in 2022, but their stadium infrastructure is only briefly assessed in a FIFA report.

The council also agreed to introduce a pilot tournament of an enlarged 24-team Club World Cup in 2021 despite European opposition.

It will replace the seven-team annual Club World Cup, which is played in December, with an expanded quadrennial version in June-July 2021.

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