The next FIFA World Cup will be unlike any of its predecessors.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed Friday at a press conference the dates for the next edition of the world’s biggest sporting event. The 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar between November 21 and December 18 of that year, but Infantino refused to specify whether FIFA would expand the field from 32 to 48 teams for the tournament.
“… the idea is to involve 48 teams,” Infantino said, per Football Italia. “We have agreements and a contract with Qatar, but it’s still too early to know if there will be 32 teams or more.
“For now, anything is possible. With 48 teams, many ‘regional’ tensions would be solved so I don’t want to close the door to this opportunity.”
FIFA in 2010 controversially awarded Qatar the right to host World Cup 2022. World soccer’s governing body further shocked the world in 2015 when it recommended staging that tournament in the winter months due to Qatar’s extreme summer temperatures. The decision is bound to disrupt the schedules of Europe’s major soccer leagues for years on either side of the 2022 World Cup.
FIFA voted in January 2017 to expand the World Cup. The scaled-up tournament originally was supposed to debut in 2026, but FIFA announced earlier this year it’s considering expanding the World Cup four years ahead of schedule.
Whether that happens remains to be seen, but stay tuned. The clock already is ticking toward November 2022.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Groothuis/Witters Sport/USA TODAY Sports
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