The FIFA World Cup has been a topic of considerable discussion of late after Fifa president Gianni Infantino reportedly opened up ideas of making the biggest football tournament in the world a competition of 48 sides instead of the previous 32 expanding the World Cup finals to 40 countries. Infantino further suggested that suggested that 16 of those teams would go home after just one knockout match, and the remainder of the tournament would be played, as now, with a 32-team group stage, followed by a knockout phase. The recently appointed head of the biggest football governing body in the world is set to present his ideas in a Fifa council meeting in Zurich next week.
However, Infantino’s decision has not been met with positive responses from everywhere. German Football Association President Reinhard Grindel has stressed the necessity of maintaining the number of World Cup participants at 32 questioning Infantino’s transparency, and suggesting that the proposals, which include 40 and 48 nations, have significant deficiencies.
”At the DFB, we’re fundamentally convinced that the tried and tested model of 32 participating nations should be held. The world championships were always tournaments that inspired, why should that change?” Quality is a huge concern for the DFB president as he believes the tournament could suffer because of the changes, as well as the game’s core markets if more countries are added and that conflicts could emerge between national teams and clubs ”if we overburden the players.”
-Reinhard Grindel, German Football Association President
On the other hand, England and the other home nations are set to support Fifa’s move to expand the World Cup team roster as long as Europe is guaranteed extra places in the tournament. Although the move is still under considerable doubt, the council meeting of FIFA in Zurich in a few days will shed more light on what will actually be the scenario in the subsequent World Cup editions.