Expansion of World Cup 2022 to 48 teams on Fifa ruling council meeting agenda5Photo© firstpost.com

Expansion of World Cup 2022 to 48 teams on Fifa ruling council meeting agenda

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FIFA’s ruling council has not ruled out expanding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams but a final decision will probably be pushed back until June, a source close to world football’s governing body told Reuters on Thursday. FIFA’s feasibility study on the tournament envisages some additional games in an expanded World Cup possibly being held in other countries, with Kuwait and Oman mentioned as options.

A deep political and economic rift in the Gulf complicates the prospects of sharing the tournament. The United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and non-Gulf state Egypt cut political, trade, and transport ties with Qatar in June, 2017. The countries accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, which it denies.

While Qatari organisers are working with FIFA on further studies of the options, they retain a veto over any change to the tournament, which is schedule for November 2022. The source said that the council meeting is likely to conclude on Friday with an expression of support for continued investigation of the possibility of adding an extra 16 teams to the tournament.