No more Sepp Blatter, but FIFA still making bad choices: Why expanding to a 48 team World Cup is a terrible call

FIFA unanimously decided on Tuesday night AEDT to expand the World Cup competition from 32 to 48 teams from the 2026 tournament.

The new format will feature 16 groups of three teams, with the top two nations from each group qualifying for the knock out stage. There will also b penalty shootouts for ever draw, even in the group stages.

Nations from Asia, Oceania and Africa will benefit most from the decision.

Asia will increase from 4.5 to 8.5 qualification spots, Africa will increase from five to nine, while Oceania will get direct qualification for the first time.

However, Europe will only rise from 13 to 16 teams.

The decision will have an enormous impact on qualification for World Cups, rendering the entire process effectively pointless, with one in four nations in the world now able to qualify for FIFA’s biggest tournament. Top teams will field inexperienced sides and with almost nothing to play for due to extra qualification spots making it easier to get to the World Cup, fans will surely feel no need to attend to watch what will be highly uneventful games.

The Cup will lose exclusivity, with teams that have never even been close to qualifying and with all due respect have not earned the right to qualify, simply handed it on a platter.

The move will see 80 matches played in total, in a mega 32-day tournament, in what is clearly a money grabbing exercise, not a move which will benefit the quality and professionalism of the tournament.