The world football governing body said in a statement that the FIFA President Gianni Infantino and presidents of each of the six confederations agreed on this at a meeting in Zurich on Thursday, March 30.
The approved recommendation which is a development of the January 10 unanimous agreement by the FIFA council for an increase in the number of teams playing at the World Cup will now be submitted to the FIFA council for ratification. The council’s next meeting is scheduled for May 9 at Manama, Bahrain. The FIFA council meeting will be coming barely just hours before the 67th FIFA congress.
“The recommendation will now be submitted for the ratification of the FIFA Council, whose next meeting is scheduled for May 9 in Manama, Bahrain, two days prior to the 67th FIFA Congress,” FIFA added.
If ratified, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) will get four more slots added to the current five of the 32-team competition. Also, the new development which is to take effect at the 2026 edition of the FIFA World Cup will see nine teams with the possibility of an extra one from Africa.
The new 48-team competition will have 46 direct slots, with the two other slots to be decided through a playoff tournament between six teams–one each from five of the six contributing confederations, with the only exception being the Union of European Football Association (UEFA). The exception of UEFA becomes understandable given the number of slots, 16, which is the highest allotted. The sixth team is to be selected from the confederation of the host country.
The tradition of automatic qualification for the host country as in the 32-team tournament will be maintained in the proposed 48-team tournament. In the event of co-hosting, the number of host countries to qualify automatically would be decided by the FIFA Council.
Below are the approved slots per confederation:
Confederation of African Football (CAF) – 9 direct slots
Asian Football Confederation (AFC) – 8 direct slots
North, Central American and Caribbean Football Confederation (CONCACAF) – 6 direct slots
South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) – 6 direct slots
Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) – 1 direct slot
Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) – 16 direct slots
Meanwhile, CAF president, Ahmad Ahmad has expressed support for Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid. Addressing the press at a conference in Marrakech, Morrocco on Tuesday, he expressed his conviction that Morocco possesses the required ability to stage a world class World Cup that would better the South Africa 2010 edition. Ahmad’s support comes weeks after FIFA president Gianni Infantino observed the availability of necessary “infrastructure and organisational capacity” for Morocco to host the World Cup. Morocco will be bidding for the World Cup for the fifth time after they had previously unsuccessfully bid to host the tournament in 1994, 1998, 2006, and 2010, losing to South Africa.