FIFA to expand the World Cup to 40 teams from 2026

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Football News

FIFA are set to increase the World Cup from 32 nations to 40 for the tournament in 2026.

According to the Daily Mail, a further week will also be added to the tournament and groups will be separated into eight groups of five teams, with a total of 32 extra fixtures to be played.

The decision to expand the tournament does not have to be approved by Congress as it is not part of the FIFA statutes. 


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Banned UEFA president Michel Platini was the first person to coin the idea in 2013 and it has since been taken on by UEFA general secretary Gianni Infantino, who is in the running to become the next FIFA president.


UEFA currently hold a huge advantage over other confederations with 14 representatives at the 2018 World Cup - due to Russia being the hosts. 

The usual system sees Europe awarded 13 places. More than double any other continent in world football.

African nations are guaranteed five places, Asia and South America four and North, Central America and the Carribean three. The other four spots are decided by qualifying games that also involve Oceania.


1930 - The first World Cup involved 13 teams from three confederations and was won by Uruguay.

1934 - 16 teams took part with Egypt becoming the first African nation to compete. Italy were crowned Champions.

1982 - After a fluctuation in participation, '82 saw a significant rise to 24 teams. Paolo Rossi inspired Italy to their third World Cup triumph.

1998 - France 98 set the precedent for the tournament's current format. 32 teams travelled to France to see the host win their first - and only - title.

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