FIFA gives go-ahead for expanded World Cup


Story highlights

  • New format set to start in 2026
  • Tournament to have 16 more teams

The FIFA Council agreed unanimously to the move Tuesday with the new format starting in 2026.

FIFA made the announcement on Twitter with further details expected to be published later.

Since 1998, when the World Cup expanded to accommodate 32 teams, the format has stayed the same.

How will it work?

The addition of 16 more teams will see a three-group format adopted and swifter progression to the knockout stages.

Each nation will play the others in its group once, with the top two progressing to an enlarged knockout round comprising 32 teams.

This guarantees each team will have at least two matches — Infantino’s initial plan envisaged a playoff round before the main group stages to eliminate 16 teams.

Currently, the World Cup involves eight groups of four, with the top two going through the last 16 knockout round.

More to follow…