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  • Asia chief predicts positive impact of World Cup expansion

    Asia chief predicts positive impact of World Cup expansion

    (Reuters) - FIFA's decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams will address Asia's long-standing demand for greater representation in the showpiece tournament, Asian Football Confederation president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said on Wednesday. The 51-year-old Bahraini attended Tuesday's FIFA Council meeting in which soccer's governing body decided to add 16 more teams to its current 32 from the 2026 edition of the tournament. "We believe that Asia, as the biggest continent deserves more slots compared with the current quota, looking at the economic power it has, and the popularity for the game in Asia, in addition to the huge development for football at all levels," Shaikh Salman said in a statement. More »

    Wed, Jan 11, 2017 06:11 GMT
  • FIFA agrees to expand World Cup to 48 teams

    FIFA agrees to expand World Cup to 48 teams

    By Brian Homewood and Pritha Sarkar ZURICH (Reuters) - Football's governing body, FIFA, voted on Tuesday to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from its current 32, brushing aside concerns that the expansion would lower the overall standard of the tournament and make it too big and unwieldy. FIFA president Gianni Infantino, fulfilling a promise he made during last year's election campaign, said the move meant that "more can participate and many more will have a chance to dream". "The football fever you have in a country that qualifies for the World Cup is the biggest promotion of the sport you can have." FIFA's 211 member associations each hold one vote in the presidential election, and 135 of them have never played at a World Cup, so expansion of the tournament was always likely to appeal. More »

    Tue, Jan 10, 2017 18:27 GMT
  • Maradona backs Infantino's 48-team World Cup plan

    Maradona backs Infantino's 48-team World Cup plan

    By Brian Homewood ZURICH (Reuters) - Diego Maradona is delighted by plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams and Argentina's former captain said on Monday that it would rekindle interest in the tournament. The FIFA Council is expected to approve a proposal to expand the finals from 32 to 48 teams, starting in 2026, when it meets on Tuesday. Maradona, one of the greatest players to grace the game, has been a long-time critic of FIFA but the two sides buried the hatchet last year after Gianni Infantino was elected president of the global soccer body to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter. More »

    Mon, Jan 9, 2017 13:37 GMT
  • FIFA proposes Americas-wide qualifying contest for 2026, says official

    FIFA proposes Americas-wide qualifying contest for 2026, says official

    FIFA has proposed merging the CONCACAF and South American qualifiers as part of its plans to expand the 2026 World Cup, a leading official from the region said in a newspaper interview. Venezuelan Football Federation president Laureano Gonzalez said the idea for the merger had come from FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Gonzalez, who is also a vice-president of CONMEBOL, the governing body for South America, said it would want at least 14 places at the finals for the two regions combined before accepting the proposal. More »

    Sun, Jan 8, 2017 13:53 GMT
  • FIFA says court rules in its favour over Qatar working conditions

    FIFA says court rules in its favour over Qatar working conditions

    A court has rejected a lawsuit against FIFA brought by labour unions which said it had failed to use its influence to ensure fair treatment for people working on 2022 World Cup facilities in Qatar, the world soccer body said on Friday. FIFA said in a statement it welcomed the decision by the Commercial Court of Zurich in the case which concerned its "alleged wrongful conduct and liability for human rights violations." The court could not immediately be reached for comment and FIFA did not give further details on the case itself. The suit was filed by Bangladesh Free Trade Union Congress, backed by the Dutch union FNV, on behalf of a Bangladeshi man who says he was exploited in Qatar. More »

    Fri, Jan 6, 2017 11:48 GMT