Fifa has scrapped a proposal to expand the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from 32 to 48 nations.
The governing body has concluded it lacks the time to prepare other countries in the Persian Gulf to become a co-hosts, in large part due to logistical and political issues in the region.
“Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now,” Fifa said in a release.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino had been pushing to expand the tournament after the likes of Italy, Holland, United States, Chile and Cameroon did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. He also was keen to give more countries from Asia the chance to participate.
The decision not to expand the tournament in Qatar means the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico will be the first 48-team event.