The world football governing body, FIFA, on Tuesday, expanded the World Cup from its current format of 32 national teams to 48, effective from the 2026 mundial. The FIFA ruling council unanimously approved the expansion to 48 teams, with a format of 16 groups of three nations.
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, at a meeting in Zurich, described the development as a historic decision which marks the entrance of the World Cup into the 21st Century. He also believes that the change will help develop the game and expand its reach.
This is the latest overhaul of the World Cup which has grown in popularity and financial might since the inaugural edition in 1930. That particular contest, which was won by Uruguay, had 13 countries in attendance. From that modest start, the World Cup expanded to 24 teams in 1982 in Spain and its present format of 32 teams in France 1998.