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FIFA set to confirm radical new World Cup changes for 2026 in huge expansion

FIFA is set to confirm radical changes ahead of the 2026 World Cup with 40 more games to be played.

The decision will be approved at a meeting of the FIFA Council on Tuesday to be held in Rwanda, The Athletic reports.

FIFA President Gianno Infantino will head the annual congress this week

Plans had already been drawn up for an extended World in 2026 where Canada, Mexico and the United States are the hosts.

FIFA’s idea was to have 48 teams contest the showpiece tournament with 16 groups of three. The top two would qualify to a 32-team knockout competition.

The plan was to boost the tournament from 64 to 80 games to create a packed festival of football.

But following resistance to those plans, the new format will consist of 12 groups of four with the eight best third-placed teams joining the top two in the knockout rounds.

The tournament will be extended to 104 games over 39 days – an extra week compared to the current format.

The extra week will be found by cutting the pre-tournament release period from 23 days to 16, which is slightly less preparation time than previous summer tournaments.

Lionel Messi steered Argentina to the last 64-game tournament success


Lionel Messi steered Argentina to the last 64-game tournament success

The report says that by doing this, FIFA is maintaining the tournament’s ‘footprint’ to 57 days, 16 days before it starts and then 39 days of competition.

It is unclear what the change means for the allocation of games between the host nations.

The United States was handed the bulk of the games with 60 set to be played on US soil, while Canada and Mexico were given ten games each.


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