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> World Cup to be extended to 48 teams from 2026
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Mack
post Jan 10 2017, 01:03 PM
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FIFA have confirmed today that the World Cup will be extended to 48 teams from 2016 with 16 groups of 3 teams and a knockout stage from the last 32 and apparently penalty shoot outs will be decided in group games if it ends up in a draw:

The World Cup will be expanded to host 48 teams, up from 32, Fifa has decided.

From BBC Sport:

QUOTE
An initial stage of 16 groups of three teams will precede a knockout stage for the remaining 32 when the change is made for the 2026 tournament.

The sport's world governing body voted unanimously in favour of the change at a meeting in Zurich on Tuesday.

The number of tournament matches will rise to 80, from 64, but the eventual winners will still play only seven games.

he tournament will be completed within 32 days - a measure to appease powerful European clubs, who objected to reform because of a crowded international schedule.

The changes mark the first World Cup expansion since 1998.

'It will dilute the competitiveness'

The European Club Association (ECA), which represents the interests of clubs at European level, reiterated that it was not in favour of an expansion. It said Fifa had made a "political" rather than sporting decision.

"We fail to see the merits to changing the current format of 32 that has proven to be the perfect formula from all perspectives," it said in a statement.

"Questionable is also the urgency in reaching such an important decision, with nine years to go until it becomes applicable, without the proper involvement of stakeholders who will be impacted by this change.

"ECA will analyse in detail the impact and the consequences of the new format and will address the matter at the next meeting of its executive board, scheduled for the end of January."

New Fifa Now, a campaign group that says the governing body needs to reform, labelled the expansion "a money grab and power grab".

"It will dilute the competitiveness of the tournament and, therefore, the enjoyment of fans," it said in a statement.

"It will not help development of the game or provide improved competitive opportunities for lower-ranked nations. Instead, it will make a mockery of the qualification process for most confederations."

Why expand?

Fifa president Gianni Infantino has been behind the move, saying the World Cup has to be "more inclusive".

Speaking at a sports conference in Dubai in December, Infantino said expansion would also benefit "the development of football all over the world".

He added: "There is nothing bigger in terms of boosting football in a country than participating in a World Cup."

Despite saying "the decision should not just be financially driven", Infantino did highlight the possible financial upsides.
According to Fifa's own research, revenue is predicted to increase to 5.29bn for a 48-team tournament, giving a potential profit rise of 521m.


What do you make of these changes.

Personally the 32 teams should have remained.
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Houdini
post Jan 10 2017, 01:51 PM
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I don't really have a good feeling about this, I've always watched the World Cup as a 32 team tournament and I think it should have stayed at that format. There's going to be a crazy amount of matches in such a short space of time now which will make watching the matches live a lot harder than before, most people will probably have to rely on highlights to watch most of the action.


The positive side to this though is that there will be more allocations for teams from various continents with Africa apparently getting 4 extra places, Europe getting 3 extra places and probably Asia will get some extra places as well according to Sky Sports News.
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Martyn
post Jan 10 2017, 04:09 PM
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I think it's silly tbh.

Especially as the format looks stupid as well.
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PeteFromLeeds
post Jan 10 2017, 04:55 PM
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On the one hand, it means that countries that may have never got a chance to play in the World Cup (i.e. Oceanian/Central American teams) may now get that chance.

I don't like the format they're doing it in though, it'll mean that there will be less 'surprise' eliminations in the group stage as only the worst team would go out, and that would no doubt be one of these 'new' teams. I would like them to find a way of still only having 16 teams in the knockout stage (without only putting the first country in eadch group through)
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Iz~
post Jan 10 2017, 05:30 PM
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QUOTE(PeteFromLeeds @ Jan 10 2017, 04:55 PM) *
I don't like the format they're doing it in though, it'll mean that there will be less 'surprise' eliminations in the group stage as only the worst team would go out, and that would no doubt be one of these 'new' teams. I would like them to find a way of still only having 16 teams in the knockout stage (without only putting the first country in eadch group through)


On the other hand, a team only has to win one shock victory and then they are probably through. I think there are too many factors in play to say for sure whether it's beneficial to underdog teams, and the two slots per group means that most teams that make it to the finals will have a chance of reaching the knockout stages, I imagine each group would have one big name and two less usual competitors - and the extended knockout stage gives more chances for one side of the draw to be weighted with traditional dominating teams, where it really is one mistake and they're gone - all extended group stages do is give the bigger teams more of a chance to regain their footing after under-estimating an opponent.

Continents wise it'll definitely make it feel more inclusive, same principle as the Euros, where they currently cover about half the continent with the extended format, this now will cover one quarter of the world's teams. Last few world cups I've really wanted more variety from Africa and Asia and more punch from both of those, if every continent gets 3-4 extra places, with Oceania finally getting a confirmed 1 I assume, maybe even two, I'm envisioning playoffs between a Caribbean and a Pacific Island nation, there's much more potential variety in matchups. And those extra 16 countries will feel more motivated to increase their football tradition.

The one thing I'd say is not good about this is the increased cost to the host, really limiting down who'd host it unless they start relaxing the rules on joint hostings, which they could if they now have 48 slots to play with...
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Houdini
post Jan 10 2017, 05:55 PM
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A news reporter on Sky Sports News said that the 2026 World Cup is most likely going to be awarded to USA so if that's the case then it will be the only the second time that it's been held there after they hosted it in 1994.


I think the overall quality of football will decrease with this format similar to how the standard of football dropped during Euro 2016 after the number of teams participating expanded. With this format teams will be playing more to draw matches rather than playing to win as 3 points would practically guarantee them passage into the knockout stage.
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Iz~
post Jan 10 2017, 05:58 PM
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Yet they'd only gain two from drawing their group stage matches...
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Houdini
post Jan 10 2017, 06:09 PM
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That's part of what I mean, normally 4 points is the minimum that a team can have in the group stage to progress to the knockout round but with this format a team could not win any group stage matches and still make it through to the knockout rounds.

In other words teams will be playing not to lose rather than playing to win which is what happened a lot in the Euro 2016 group stage matches and the quality of football suffered as a result.


This post has been edited by Houdini: Jan 10 2017, 06:11 PM
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♀mdh♀
post Jan 10 2017, 07:31 PM
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What a stupid idea.
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Rooney
post Jan 10 2017, 07:55 PM
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It's ridiculous and only done because FIFA will make more money. The qualification process is already tedious enough, now we have a 48 team World Cup! It dilutes the quality of the competition. The new group format looks ridiculous as well. They might as well just make it 64 teams and have a straight knock-out competition!
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Flatcap
post Jan 10 2017, 08:59 PM
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I am not at all convinced by this format. I see problems with logistics, unless they are planning to let the World Cup run longer than usual. So many games crammed into a short space of time, players are going to be tired and get injured. Bigger squads allowed perhaps? Probably overthinking this.
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Suedehead2
post Jan 10 2017, 09:25 PM
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in each group two teams will have to play their two matches with a relatively short gap between them. The other team will have a much longer break. Cue lots of whinging from managers.
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RabbitFurCoat
post Jan 11 2017, 07:38 AM
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QUOTE(Flatcap @ Jan 10 2017, 08:59 PM) *
I am not at all convinced by this format. I see problems with logistics, unless they are planning to let the World Cup run longer than usual. So many games crammed into a short space of time, players are going to be tired and get injured. Bigger squads allowed perhaps? Probably overthinking this.

It doesn't increase the number of games each team plays though, so there's no need for it to run much longer. More teams makes more games overall, but there's no reason why they can't play more games on days, you just don't stagger them as much. Play games at 2, 4, 6 & 8pm local time you still get through all groups in four days and the group stage takes 12. Get through the 'round of 32' in another 4 and you're down to 16 teams after 16 days, it took 15 days (12th-26th) to do the groups last time. Only problem you might face is that you could need an extra couple of stadiums compared to usual.

Personally don't see much of a problem with it, it was always going to happen and there are enough teams throughout the world that could qualify each year, it does get boring only getting the same teams qualify from some continents every time.
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Suedehead2
post Jan 11 2017, 10:37 AM
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QUOTE(RabbitFurCoat @ Jan 11 2017, 07:38 AM) *
It doesn't increase the number of games each team plays though, so there's no need for it to run much longer. More teams makes more games overall, but there's no reason why they can't play more games on days, you just don't stagger them as much. Play games at 2, 4, 6 & 8pm local time you still get through all groups in four days and the group stage takes 12. Get through the 'round of 32' in another 4 and you're down to 16 teams after 16 days, it took 15 days (12th-26th) to do the groups last time. Only problem you might face is that you could need an extra couple of stadiums compared to usual.

Personally don't see much of a problem with it, it was always going to happen and there are enough teams throughout the world that could qualify each year, it does get boring only getting the same teams qualify from some continents every time.

There is a suggestion that drawn group games will go to penalties (with two points for the winner and one for the loser), If so, the gap between matches would need to be a little longer. The other potential problem is the question of whether the broadcasters will want four matches per day for a prolonged period. I'm sure the sports channels won't mind, but the likes of the BBC and ITV may be less keen.
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Mart!n
post Jan 11 2017, 12:36 PM
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I think the format looks a bit silly for starters, a group of 3 teams looks pretty odd, as most countries will just try not to lose, it would be easier having a group of 6 teams and the top 3 to qualify into the next round, it just makes more sense, some games might not shown and probably end up on a highlights programme in the evening. And if USA do host in 2026, most of games will be shown at night as I remember the last time they hosted, I watched the games in bed.
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Mack
post Jan 11 2017, 01:37 PM
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If you were going to have an 48 team tournament, a suggestion that someone thought of was have the Top16 teams that have qualified based in world rankings in another round with the 32 teams playing each other in an preliminary round who would play them in the next round however this wouldn't be a good idea as it would be a long way just to go to play for one match.

With broadcasting rights- The FIFA World Cup matches have to be shown on an free-to-air channel although I can see possibly someone like Sky & BT getting on the act.

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Suedehead2
post Jan 11 2017, 03:42 PM
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QUOTE(Mack @ Jan 11 2017, 01:37 PM) *
If you were going to have an 48 team tournament, a suggestion that someone thought of was have the Top16 teams that have qualified based in world rankings in another round with the 32 teams playing each other in an preliminary round who would play them in the next round however this wouldn't be a good idea as it would be a long way just to go to play for one match.

With broadcasting rights- The FIFA World Cup matches have to be shown on an free-to-air channel although I can see possibly someone like Sky & BT getting on the act.

That format was the one proposed when the idea of 48 teams was first raised.

You're right about broadcasting rights in the UK although I don't trust this government to keep it that way. In a lot of other countries there is no such protection so the matches are on subscription channels.
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DJHazey
post Feb 1 2017, 04:48 PM
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It's shit. I say this as a U.S. supporter that if the Americans don't play well enough to make a 32-team field (like 2018) then we shouldn't be given a life-ring by making it to an expanded 48-team tournament.
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