Qatar World Cup might see 48 teams: FIFA President
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has said that the body is pondering over the possibility of 48 teams in the 2022 Qatar World Cup. Earlier, it was suggested that the 2026 World Cup to be held in the USA, Mexico, and Canada will be hosting 48 teams, but now he thinks it might happen before that. This will also increase the number of Asian participants.
Infantino's comments were made at the Asian Football Confederation's annual Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He said that the FIFA is discussing the possibility of such an occurrence with the organizers in Qatar and hopes that it will see fruition in the 2022 World Cup itself. A sudden increase in 16 more participants will make matters more difficult for the organizers.
Hassan Al-Thawadi, head of the 2022 World Cup organizing committee, said that they are looking into the possibility of hosting 48 teams, and a decision will be made before the qualification rounds begin next year. Regarding the developments, he said, "We are very happy and excited with the progress. It is on track. By 2020-2021 all our (eight) stadiums will be ready,"
In June of 2017, many Gulf countries including Egypt, Bahrain, UAE, and Saudi Arabia had cut off ties with Qatar, because they believe Qatar supports extremist Islamic organizations. However, the organizing committee has said that such political turmoil is in no way affecting the progress of work related to the World Cup. Hassan Al-Thawadi believes that the tournament can help bring people together.