World Cup Looking To Expand With Oceania Federation
Talks have started that may lead to the expansion of the FIFA World Cup to potentially 48 teams.
This news is a boost for Football New Zealand who has been hoping to expand the current number of teams in order for World Cup qualification to tie in with the Oceania Federation Championships.
This federation includes New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga and others. New Zealand is hoping that the winner of the Oceania Confederations Cup that determines the best team of the member countries will be granted direct entry into the FIFA world Cup.
A New Way Forward
The president of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, has stated that the world football federation is very much interested in this new development and they will provide their full support to realise this goal.
FIFA has been very interested in allowing more teams to take part in the world cup event and they are currently looking at different models to integrate more teams.
Currently the 32 team model is inadequate for supporting an expansion of participating teams.
These potential changes will not be implemented before 2026 but a more official decision is expected when the council meets in the New Year.
A FIFA council meeting is planned to convene on the 9th of January in Zurich.
Not all voices are in support of the expansion. Notably the European Club Association has voiced strong concerns with possible expansion.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge of ECA has said that expansion should be in the interest of the players and the fans and should not be done for political or commercial gains.
The ECA’s concern is with regards to the additional strain that will be placed on the top players that would go with such a large expansion.
A major change that has officially been announced by FIFA president Infantino is the use of video assisted referees. The system has recently been trialled by FIFA during the Club World Cup event and is set to be first implemented during the 2018 Russian World Cup.
The expansion plans so far has both its pros and cons. For The New Zealand Football federation, it would be a huge boon.
The Oceania Football Confederation features some of the best players in the world but rarely makes a World Cup showing due to various rules and regulation as well as the 32 team limit employed in the current World Cup model.
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