Infantino still open to 48-team Qatar World Cup

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has left the door open to the 2022 World Cup going ahead as a 48-team competition.

The national team tournament is due to expand from 32 teams to 48 in 2026, when it will be co-hosted by the US, Mexico and Canada. The prospect of the expanded tournament being introduced four years early was first suggested in April, when the matter was raised by the member associations of the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol).

Infantino has previously said he would consider bringing forward the expansion and in June the Fifa Council agreed that the matter would first be discussed by Fifa with Qatar. Organisers of the Qatar event later said they would be open to a 48-team tournament.

Infantino has now said that discussions are ongoing between Qatar and Fifa over the possibility of an expanded tournament in 2022. With Qatar currently only committed to building eight stadia for the event, it would need to share hosting duties with neighbouring countries should the tournament be expanded.

Infantino said, according to the BBC: “If it is possible, why not? We have to see if it is possible, if it is feasible. We are discussing with our Qatari friends, we are discussing with our many other friends in the region and we hope that this can happen.

“And, if not, we will have tried. We will have tried because we always have to try to do things in a better way.”