New FIFA president Gianni Infantino is set to go ahead with his pre-election campaign promise of ...
New FIFA president Gianni Infantino is set to go ahead with his pre-election campaign promise of expanding the World Cup to 40 teams, and has suggested that Africa could get two more slots in the world’s biggest football competition.
The Swiss-Italian, during his campaign to replace Sepp Blatter as the FIFA president, made promises of expanding the quadrennial competition, so as to accommodate more countries, a development which if implemented, could also favour Nigeria.
“It will be great for the World Cup in terms of popularity because you will have more nations involved in the World Cup,” he was quoted on Fox Sports. “There is enough quality, we see it in Europe. [And] look at the last World Cup – England and Italy were kicked out by Costa Rica. This is football.”Infantino’s plan is however yet to be globally accepted, with concerns the quality of the World Cup would be reduced if too many teams participate, but the 46-year old is adamant.
“There would be of course more spots for everyone. For example, two more Africans, one-and-a-half in CONCACAF, half in South America, half in Oceania, one-and-a-half in Asia, we arrive at 39.In the current World Cup format of 32 teams, the African continent is designated five berths. The news is sure to come as a welcome development to Nigeria, who faces a tough draw ahead of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
“And the last spot should be played on the pitch somehow; let’s see how by the one who will deserve it in the best possible way.”