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FIFA President Proposes 48-Team World Cup Tournament

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has proposed expanding the World Cup finals to a 48-team tournament – a larger number than his election promise.

The Italian suggested 16 of those teams would be eliminated after one knockout match – before the group stages.

The rest of the tournament would be the same as it is now, with 32 teams competing in group stages followed by knockout rounds.

One of his election promises was to expand the finals to 40 teams.

Infantino said a decision would be taken by the governing body’s council in January.

“These are ideas to find the best solution, we will debate them this month and we will decide everything by 2017,” said the 46-year-old.

“They are ideas which we put forward to see which one is the best.”

Infantino took charge of football’s world governing body in February after the disgraced Sepp Blatter resigned.

Under his proposal, a preliminary knockout round in the host country would involve 32 teams with the winners reaching the groups, while a further 16 seeded teams would get a bye to that stage.

“It means we continue with a normal World Cup for 32 teams, but 48 teams go to the party,” he added.

“Fifa’s idea is to develop football in the whole world, and the World Cup is the biggest event there is. It’s more than a competition, it’s a social event.

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