January 10, 2017 / 9:53 AM / 7 months ago

FIFA says unanimously approves 48-team World Cup as of 2026

ZURICH, Jan 10 (Reuters) - FIFA's council has unanimously backed plans by President Gianni Infantino to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from 32 starting in 2026, the global soccer body said on Tuesday.

The new format will be made up of 16 groups of three teams, FIFA said in a tweet sent by its media department, adding more details will follow after a meeting of the 37-member FIFA Council in Zurich on Tuesday.

Infantino, elected last February to replace the disgraced Sepp Blatter, pledged during his campaign to enlarge the tournament - a promise designed especially to appeal to the bulk of FIFA's 211 member associations that rarely or never qualify for World Cups. (Reporting by Joshua Franklin; Editing by Michael Shields)

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