The World Cup is officially changing beginning in 2026. The FIFA Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to accept the proposal of president Gianni Infantino to expand the world’s most popular sporting event to a 48-team format adding 16 more teams.
In the new format, there will be 16 groups of three with two advancing to the knockout stages that will now be the Round of 32.
How the World Cup is set to look from 2026 after FIFA decides today to increase the tournament from 32 to 48 teams pic.twitter.com/ktwPFram7A— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) January 10, 2017
According to Rob Harris of the Associated Press, this new format is expected to generate an increase of $975 million in revenue for the organization. So, if you were looking for a reason for the massive changes by FIFA, look no further.
Many consider the United States to be favorites to host the 2026 World Cup, either as a sole host or joint hosts with Canada and/or Mexico. This would be the first time the new format is implemented.
There are also discussions of changing the rules and adding penalty shootouts in the group stage in the event of a draw. So many more changes could be made between now and then. For now, this one big format change is a go.