FIFA amends World Cup format ahead of 2026 World Cup…
World’s football governing body FIFA has amended the format of the FIFA World Cup with the 2026 edition being the first to have forty-eight (48) teams in attendance, www.aclsports.com reports.
At its meeting in advance of the 73rd FIFA Congress in Kigali, Rwanda on Tuesday evening, the FIFA Council adopted several key decisions that will affect international football between now and the next seven years, part of which is the expanded FIFA World Cup 2026.
The 2026 tournament which will also be the first tournament to be co-hosted by three countries (USA, Canada and Mexico), will now take a different shape as against the earlier communicated sixteen groups of three teams each.
🗓️👀 Sunday 19 July 2026, we do it all again… 🏆#FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/SLO22tP70C— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) March 14, 2023
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Based on a thorough review that considered sporting integrity, player welfare, team travel, commercial and sporting attractiveness, as well as team and fan experience, the FIFA Council has now communicated that the 48 participating nations will be drawn in twelve groups of four teams each.
From these groups, the top two teams will progress to the next round while eight best third-placed teams will also advance to the knockout round of 32 from which format the competition will run till the end.
As FIFA amends the World Cup format to this new version, the FIFA Council hopes that it will mitigate the risk of collusion and ensures that all participating teams play a minimum of three matches each, while providing balanced rest time between competing teams.
This decision will also increase the number of matches to be played at the 2026 World Cup tournament to one hundred and four (104) instead of the eighty (80) games already proposed with the now abrogated format.
FIFA also confirmed that the World Cup tournament billed to start on June 11, 2026 will climax with the final on July 19, 2026 intended for the 82,500 capacity MetLife Stadium in New York/New Jersey.