From a dimly lit room 100 feet under FIFA’s Swiss lair, FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been hatching a plan which may see FIFA’s 48-team World Cup introduced four-years early in Qatar.
The 48-team model was expected to be introduced when it was formally affirmed last year in 2026, but FIFA’s geniuses seem impatient to wait.
If we hadn’t all agreed how bad the idea was (which it really is bad & removes the whole point of World Cup qualifiers) – FIFA and their mates over at CONMEBOL want to expedite this process. Today, FIFA announced they will now fund a study into the feasibility of making the 2022 World Cup in Qatar include 48-teams, 16 more than the traditional 32-team competition the Middle Eastern nation was set to hold.
The problem? Qatar is currently in the process of building 8 stadiums (on the back of dying migrant workers) and to hold a total of 80 games. But to do so, they’ll need four more venues built according to FIFA. This has lead to FIFA’s executive entertaining the idea that Qatar may have to share some games with a regional neighbour.
But wait, there’s another problem. None of Qatar’s neighbours like them that much at all. Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and Yemen – all of Qatar’s landlocked neighbours cut diplomatic ties with the small nation.
“And I really think it is something very interesting. We have to study it seriously and if it is possible, why not?” FIFA President Gianni Infantino told a meeting of CONMEBOL officials in Buenos Aires.
Expediting the plans will allow FIFA to top-up their struggling bank account balance as a bigger competition is expected to act as a lifeline to FIFA’s struggling income streams.
Trouble in oil-rich paradise? We think so.