FIFA votes to extend World Cup to 48 teams

Zurich: World football governing body FIFA has increased the number of teams in its marquee event the World Cup, from 32 to 48 teams.

The new format, which is set to come into action from the 2026 edition of the FIFA World Cup, will have 16 groups, consisting of three teams each, according to BBC.

The top two teams from each group will progress to the knockout stage. In this new format, the entire tournament will have a total of 80 matches, as opposed to 64 matches, which take place under the tournament’s current format.

Crucially however, teams that progress to the final of the tournament, will still play seven matches under the new format.

The coming two editions of the World Cup, in 2018 and 2022 are set to be held in Russia and Qatar, respectively. While the 2018 and the 2022 editions will be played under the current format with 32 teams, football fans will have to wait nine more years to experience the mega tournament in its new format.

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