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Strong support for 48 teams in Fifa World Cup 2022

Published: Updated:

A majority of football federations support increasing the number of teams playing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from 32 to 48, Fifa president Gianni Infantino said in Doha on Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference after a three-day Fifa summit, which was attended by more than 70 federations, he revealed that the plan enjoyed widespread backing from different associations.

"We will see," Infantino said. "So far, of course the majority is in favor because 16 more teams can participate, not only means 16 more countries with World Cup fever, but also 50 or 60 more countries being able to dream."

A decision will be made in March at Fifa's next council meeting, after a feasibility study is completed.

The world football governing body has backed a 48-team tournament to become the norm from 2026, when the World Cup takes place in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

But, with the 2022 host "open" to the idea of a 48-team tournament, Infantino is considering implementing the changes earlier.

The first World Cup to be held in the Middle East will take place over 28 days, not the usual 32 and, according to Infantino, the length of the tournament is set in stone.

Since the number of days cannot be changed, one option would be to host games across the region.

However Qatar is at the center of the worst diplomatic crisis.

"Of course I am not that naive, not to know, not to read the news about what is going on. But we are in football, we are not in politics," he added.