ran for FIFA president on a platform that included an expansion of the World Cup. Other than more money -- also on the Infantino platform -- nothing gets the attention of FIFA
members more than increased World Cup spots.
Now that Infantino has won and pushed through an expanded World Cup from 32 to 48 teams, confederations are lining up to make their
From 32 teams in 2018 and 2022 to 48 teams in 2026, that means an increase of 50 percent. But UEFA, the European confederation, is making it easy.
Europe is only
asking to have its allotment of 14 teams (including host Russia) in 2018 increased by two to 16 teams. The caveat: UEFA wants all European teams separated in the group stage so they all have a shot at
reaching the 32-team second round when the knockout phase begins.
That leaves 32 spots for the other five confederations, who currently share 18, to divvy among themselves.
The Confederation of African Football is holding a summit in Johannesburg, where the primary topic of conversation is the upcoming CAF election that could unseat longtime president Issa
, but Africa leaders are also pressing Infantino on the issue of the World Cup.
“All associations back the idea to expand the World Cup," South African Danny
Jordaan told Reuters
, "and there is the hope that Africa can have 10 places in future."
That would be double
the number of berths Africa currently has. At first blush, that would be wishful thinking, given the performance of the five African teams at the 2014 World Cup, where where they won three of 17
But there will be plenty of spots to go around among the other four confederations that currently share 13 berths: 4.5
If Europe gets 16 and Africa 10, the other four confederations would share 22 berths, an increase of nine, and look something like this:
Any more than seven berths makes qualifying Conmebol basically meaningless, and six
berths does away with the concept of the Hexagonal in Concacaf.
Asia, which has 47 members, might clamor for more than eight spots -- double like Africa? -- but its record at the 2014
World Cup was even worse than Africa's. The four teams were all eliminated in the first round, having combined for three ties and nine losses in 12 games.