FIFA’s plans to change everything we know and love about the greatest sporting competition the world has ever known are continuing. Along with the expansion to 48 participants beginning in 2026, world soccer’s governing body is now proposing new World Cup slots for each region.
While this was an obvious move with the number of new teams coming in, it’s still startling to realize that the number of CONCACAF teams guaranteed entry into the World Cup will double. Here are the full number of slots proposed by FIFA.
· AFC: 8 direct slots
· CAF: 9 direct slots
· CONCACAF: 6 direct slots
· CONMEBOL: 6 direct slots
· OFC: 1 direct slot
· UEFA: 16 direct slots
The recommendation will now be submitted for the ratification of the FIFA Council, whose next meeting is scheduled for 9 May in Manama, Bahrain, two days prior to the 67th FIFA Congress.
This news effectively ensures the death of CONCACAF’s current qualifying structure, particularly the six-team final round known as “the Hex”. Changes are coming, like it or not. Unless drastic changes come to the alignment of countries in the different federations, it appears that qualification to the World Cup is going to become nothing more than a formality for the USA. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?