FIFA World Cup set to be expanded to 40 teams

December 4, 2015 6:59 am

 All
Whites midfielder Chris James celebrates after scoring against Mexico
during the World Cup Brazil qualifier played at Westpac Stadium in
Wellington. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Good for the All Whites.
The FIFA executive committee
could expand the World Cup to 40 teams starting at the 2026 tournament,
which would almost certainly mean a qualification spot for the top team
in Oceania according to reports.
According to a document seen by
The Associated Press, the plan to add eight teams and 32 matches is part
of the reform proposals being considered Thursday. If accepted, it can
become FIFA policy without the approval of the 209 member federations.
The
2026 bidding should start next year with the United States, Canada and
Mexico the expected candidates. The U.S. would likely be the favourite
for a tournament needing a minimum 12 stadiums for a 96-match World Cup.
The probable format would be eight five-team groups, with the top two advancing to the round of 16.

The 40-team World Cup was first suggested by UEFA President Michel Platini in 2013.
An automatic qualification spot would mean the All Whites would avoid a play-off to reach the World Cup.
New
Zealand had to face Mexico in an intercontinental play-off for a spot
in the 2014 World Cup, losing the playoff 9-3 on aggregate.
To
reach the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the All Whites will need to top the
Oceania group play and advance past the fifth beat team in CONMEBOL
(South America) in a playoff.

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