By now, I’m sure that you have hear about the proposed 48-team World Cup. Well, FIFA has approved it; the format will commence in 2026. However, a lot of people are not too pleased with the development. In fact, the idea has divided opinion like few other things. Many coaches, such as Jose Mourinho and Diego Maradona, have endorsed the idea of a 48-team tournament. Others, such as the German Football governing body, DFB, have disagreed with the notion. Well, every side has a few reasons to support their stance.
For starters, the 48-team tournament will feature 48 teams, duh. That means we get to see more matches. Previously, the tournament was dominated by European countries, with Argentina and Brazil thrown in for good measure. However, this arrangement threatens to upset the order of things. There will be more slots for Africa, Asia and Oceania. That’s a step in the right direction, as lots of people will agree; finally, a country like Zimbabwe has a better chance of qualifying for the tournament.
Furthermore, there is a prize for making it to the group stages of the World Cup. You can see how useful $1.2 million would be for a developing country; they could improve their sports facilities. This would help them prepare better for their tournaments, ultimately leading to a more satisfying World Cup. I don’t see how this is a bad thing.
However, the World Cup has always been the terrain of countries like Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, and England (if you count their one trophy as a sign of dominance). These countries almost always make it out of the group stages, because they almost always finish first and/or second in their four-team groups. In the proposed 48-team tournament, there will be 16 groups of three teams each. This means that the chance of qualification will be slimmer for everyone. There will be more matches, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on how much you prefer watching football to doing anything else. At least, England has a bit more of a chance to qualify from the group stage.
Also, I hear that the main motivation for this change is politics. Gianni Infantino is obviously trying to make some powerful friends. But then, who cares, as long as Zimbabwe makes it to the World Cup?