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Published: 10:19 | 15/12/15

40-team World Cup under consideration


FIFA's executive committee is considering expanding the World Cup from 32 teams to 40 but a final decision on the proposal has been deferred.

The proposal was discussed by the executive committee on the first day of a two-day meeting in Zurich with Asia and Africa, plus FIFA presidential candidate Gianni Infantino all firmly in favour of the change.

If accepted the changes would come into effect from 2026 but a final decision has been delayed pending a detailed study of the proposals.

An increase of eight teams would mean an extra 32 matches, which would result in the tournament being extended by a week, while the first round would also have to be adjusted to allow for the extra teams.

Meanwhile, the executive committee has approved limiting presidential terms to a maximum of three.

Under the changes future presidents will only be able to hold office for a maximum of 12 years.

FIFA is working hard to restore its reputation after a number of scandals, including the suspension of president Sepp Blatter, but acting president Issa Hayatou is confident the world football's governing body is moving in the right direction.

"These reforms are moving FIFA towards improved governance, greater transparency and more accountability," Hayatou told a news conference.

"They mark a milestone on our path towards restoring FIFA's credibility as a modern, trusted and professional sports organisation.

"This signals the beginning of a culture shift at FIFA. It is important to recognise that today's recommendations build on the foundations established by the IGC in 2011 under Mark Pieth's leadership, which included the creation of an independent chairman on the Audit and Compliance Committee and splitting the Ethics Committee into investigative and adjudicatory chambers.

"As the February Congress approaches, I want to encourage all presidential candidates to embrace this spirit of reform and, as they campaign, to make clear their plans on how they would help FIFA enact these and other reform measures, should they be elected."

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