FIFA to ‘revisit’ plan to scrap four-team groups: Infantino | Football News

DOHA (Reuters) – FIFA should review its plans to introduce three-team groups for the 2026 World Cup, world football chief Gianni Infantino said on Friday.
FIFA had previously indicated that the 2026 final, which will grow to 48 teams from 32, would see countries split into 16 groups of three in the first round.
Under this format, the top two teams from each group would advance to a 32-team knockout tournament.
However, the FIFA President infantine said the resounding success of the existing first-round format at the Qatar World Cup – where teams were split into traditional groups of four – had prompted a rethink.
Several groups in Qatar fell to the wire, with qualification hanging in the balance until the final whistle.
“The groups of four were absolutely amazing until the last minute of the last game,” Infantino told a press conference in Doha.
“We need to review or at least re-discuss the format, whether it’s 16 groups of three or 12 groups of four. That’s something that will be on the agenda in the coming weeks.”
Infantino added that the World Cup format for 2026 could be modeled on the European Championship, which has six groups of four, with the top four third-placed teams also advancing to the knockout stages.
The 2026 World Cup is co-hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Infantino said the expanded competition would lead to a financial boon for FIFA.
Revenue for the four-year cycle leading up to 2026 is expected to increase to $11 billion, from $7.5 billion in the cycle ending in 2022.
Asked to explain the huge expected increase in revenue, Infantino cited the increased number of teams, the existing stadium infrastructure and the size of the North American market.
“We are optimistic about the power of football,” Infantino said. “We are convinced that the impact of the game will be enormous.
“It’s been huge here and it will be amazing in North America. Three huge countries, 48 ​​teams.
“More games, revenue is going to increase in terms of broadcasting, in terms of sponsorship, in terms of hospitality.
“We will play in huge stadiums used for American football, with a capacity of 80 to 90,000 seats. We expect 5.5 million fans who travel for these events.”


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