FIFA approve 48-team World Cup finals in 2026

The FIFA Council has unanimously decided in favour of expanding the FIFA World Cupto a 48-team competition as of the 2026 edition.

The new tournament format will see the 48 national teams split into 16 groups of three. The top two teams from each group will then advance to a 32-team knockout stage.

The new format has been drawn up in such a way that there is no reduction in the overall number of rest days and a guaranteed maximum of seven matches for the teams reaching the final, while the current 32-day tournament duration is kept, so as not to increase the length of time for which clubs have to release their players.

Europe currently gets 13 slots and is understood to be aiming for no fewer than 16 in the new format.

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