All football regions will see their World Cup slots increased
when the tournament expands to 48 teams in 2026, with Africa the
biggest winner, according to FIFA recommendations released
The plan to expand the competition beyond its current 32-team
format, which is subject to approval at FIFA's May Congress in
Bahrain, guarantees Africa nine places, marking an increase of
Asia, currently guaranteed between four and five World Cup
entries, will get eight slots, while European confederation UEFA
gets a boost from 13 to 16.
The confederation for North, Central America and the Caribbean
(CONCACAF) will have six places, above its current level of
between three and four.
South America (CONMEBOL), which now has between four and five
slots, will get six, according to the recommendations from FIFA's
Oceana, which has not been guaranteed an entry in past World
Cups, will be assured one spot.
The January 10 decision to expand the World Cup marked a major
victory for FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who has been on the
job for just over a year.
He boasted at the time that under the new format more countries
"will have the chance to dream" and that a larger tournament will
reflect "the World Cup of the 21st Century".
FIFA's decision to expand the tournament infuriated many in the
football world, with some branding it a money grab and a blatant
bid by Infantino to win favour among developing world federations
who helped elect him.