World football’s governing body, FIFA, has voted to increase the number of teams at the World Cup Finals to 48, starting from 2026.
The FIFA Council voted unanimously on the step at a meeting in Zurich, Switzerland, on Tuesday.
The FIFA Council unanimously decided on a 48-team #WorldCup as of 2026:
16 groups of 3 teams. Details to follow after the meeting.
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) 10 January 2017
The new format – which sees the first tournament expansion since 1998, groups will be expanded from 8 to 16 groups made up of three teams per group, about 80 matches per tournament.
The World Cup is expected to be completed within 32 days, a measure to keep powerful European clubs happy – as they have already complained at the packed international schedule.
The 2026 FIFA World Cup tournament doesn’t have a host nation yet, with the bidding process delayed due to the corruption scandal.
A final decision on the host is expected in May 2020.