FIFA told to expand 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 countries

International Edition By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 13/04/2018

The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) has asked FIFA to bring forward plans to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams in time for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

The competition is due to be extended from 32 teams in time for the 2026 finals, which will be awarded either to Morocco or a joint North American bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada.

However, a request to bring the expansion forward was made on Thursday in an open letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino at CONMEBOL's annual conference in Buenos Aires.

The letter was signed by CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez and the region's 10 member associations.

"As we do believe in big and because we want to do justice (for more teams), we ask that the 2022 World Cup is played with 48 teams," Dominguez is quoted by AP as saying.

For this summer's World Cup, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Uruguay all qualified - with big shots Chile and Ecuador among those missing out.

However, the new 48-team format will give South America six places, with a seventh side going into an intercontinental playoff, as opposed to the current format of four automatic qualifiers and one intercontinental playoff winner.