Ken Early: World Cup plans to turn beautiful game to plain Jane

Mourinho’s reasons for backing 2026 Fifa plans reveal true status of international game

Former Argentina soccer star Diego Maradona calls expanding the World Cup an 'excellent idea' after playing a game at FIFA HQ in Switzerland. Video: Reuters

This Tuesday the Fifa council meets in Zurich to vote on proposed changes to the format of the World Cup from 2026 onwards. Fifa president Gianni Infantino will ask the 37-member council to choose how the competition will look in the future, and there is no secret about which outcome he prefers.

The promise to increase the number of countries that participate in the World Cup finals was part of Infantino’s election campaign last year. His original idea was to expand from 32 to 40 teams, but since then he has decided that 48 teams would work even better.

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