THE 2022 World Cup is set to be expanded to 48 teams after FIFA President Gianni Infantino out-maneuvered UEFA.
UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin, backed by Europe’s major clubs, is firmly against the idea and Infantino’s proposed 24-team Club World Cup.
But Infantino secured the support of South America, Africa, Asia, North and Central America and Oceania ahead of the meeting of FIFA’s ruling Council.
It left Ceferin and the rest of the European representatives, including FA chairman Greg Clarke, isolated and unable to resist when the official vote takes place.
The only thing that can stop the 2022 World Cup being the first with 48 teams is if hosts Qatar refuse to share the tournament with any of their neighbours.
Oman and Kuwait are likely to be named as the extra hosts to enable the tournament to be crammed into the 28-day window that has already been agreed between November 21 and December 18.
The Club World Cup, which will include eight European teams, will be held in the summer of 2021 and replace the unwanted Confederations Cup.
A final decision on both competitions will be made by the full Congress of the 211 FIFA members in Paris in June but unless there is an unexpected development Infantino appears to have won a significant battle. –Sunsports