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SCONMEBOL asks FIFA to expand World Cup to 48 teams in 2022fi

2018-05-15 22:37 Source:6KGM.COM Edit:admin

The ECA declined comment Thursday on the 2022 expansion plan being championed by CONMEBOL President Alejandro Dominguez.

EXCLUSIVE: Infantino hopeful 2018 & 2022 World Cups change perception of hosts (1:43)

Kuwait, which retains relations with Qatar, could be a co-host after Infantino worked to ensure the countrys suspension from FIFA was lifted in December.

Qatar won the FIFA vote in 2010 with a vision of the World Cup benefiting the Middle East but with all the games in the small desert nation. Hopes of a unifying tournament for the region were eroded when Qatars neighbors, including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, cut diplomatic ties last year.

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Qatar currently has plans to build eight stadiums, whereas bidders for the 48-team 2026 tournament have been told they need 12 venues. Rather than further straining the requirements on Qatar, one option to accommodate the leap from 64 to 80 would be to share games in the Gulf.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino is keen on hastening the expansion of the World Cup to 48 teams for the 2022 tournament in Qatar, a move that might require the tiny Gulf nation to share games in the region.

And I really think it is something very interesting. We have to study it seriously and if it is possible, why not?

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FIFA President Gianni Infantino open to CONMEBOLs request to expand Qatar World Cup

Qatar has always been open to dialogue, Al Thawadi told The Associated Press in November. Its always been open and its always supported our brother nations, to the extent that if [sharing the World Cup] was the ultimate goal, all that would have required was a conversation.

An early expansion would allow FIFA to generate more revenue to replenish the coffers hit by corruption scandals and potentially strengthen Infantinos position among the 211 membership before seeking re-election next year.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino tells Gab Marcotti about his hopes that the 2018 and 2022 World Cups change negative perceptions of Russia and Qatar. (1:43)

Qatar World Cup organizing committee secretary general Hassan al-Thawadi has not ruled out the possibility of sharing matches with neighbors.

Dominguezs Paraguay failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup and this years edition in Russia.

As we do believe in big and because we want to do justice [for more teams], Dominguez said to Infantino during the CONMEBOL meeting in Buenos Aires, we ask that the 2022 World Cup is played with 48 teams.

The Qatar tournament is already due to operate on a tight 28-day schedule to please club sides after FIFA shifted the event from its usual June-July slot to November-December because of the extreme heat in the desert nation.

It seems to me a very interesting idea, Infantino said after attending a CONMEBOL meeting in Buenos Aires. Of course we have to study the feasibility of this proposal. If its possible, if it is feasible, if the others agree too, because it is not a decision that only the president of FIFA or CONMEBOL make ... of course we are going to study it.

The governing body will now study if Qatar can alone cope with the additional logistical challenges of hosting 16 more teams and 16 more games than originally planned for the Middle Easts first World Cup.

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I firmly believe as president of FIFA in an enlargement of participating national teams because I am convinced that it is good for the development of football all over the world, Infantino said. That is why we have proposed it and that is why we have agreed to it since 2026.

Before being elected FIFA President, Infantino served as general secretary at European governing body UEFA under Michel Platini, who called on Qatar to share games in the region after voting for the country in the contentious hosting vote in 2010.

The jump from 32 to 48 teams was originally only due to apply from the 2026 tournament under plans Infantino secured approval for last year. But he is highly receptive to a request received Thursday from CONMEBOL and its 10-member associations to accelerate the expansion plans.

The condensed tournament program was agreed to minimize disruption to club schedules after FIFA faced opposition from within the European Club Association. FIFAs latest attempt to change the international tournament schedule could provoke further concern from the ECAs influential members who have most of the worlds top players in their squads.

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