For once, FIFA's president Gianni Infantino will not be able to fulfill his desire to expand the FIFA World Cup.
The president of football's governing body tried hard to make the 2022 edition, set to take place in Qatar, the first one to be played by 48 teams. Unfortunately, his plan will not come to fruition due to the political landscape surrounding the Asian country.
In a press release issued today, FIFA revealed that all scenarios were considered to make this plan a reality, but the plan was not ready to be implemented despite "lowering certain key FIFA requirements," according to the document.
The aforementioned setbacks will force FIFA execs to carry on with the original plan, which will see the 2022 World Cup being played by 32 teams.
Here is FIFA's full press release, as issued on their website.
In line with the conclusions of the feasibility study approved by the FIFA Council at its last meeting, FIFA and Qatar have jointly explored all possibilities to increase the number of participant teams from 32 to 48 teams by involving neighbouring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.
Additionally, FIFA and Qatar have once again explored the feasibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament by in particular lowering certain key FIFA requirements. A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June. It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June.