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Dates and expansion plans for 2022 World Cup in Qatar confirmed

FIFA has announced that the Qatar World Cup in 2022 will be played from November 21 to December 18 for the first time in history.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirmed the move as the 2018 World Cup in Russia comes to a close.

Infantino has declared the 2018 World Cup as the best ever and thanked Russia for being the perfect host.

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The Swiss-Italian also revealed he is pushing ahead to expand the competition to 48 teams for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

“We will decide whether it’s 48 or 32 teams in the next few months. We must have have discussions with the Qataris and then if there is a possibility with the Fifa Council and stakeholders. Then we will decide calmly and quietly what the decision is.

“For now it’s a World Cup with 32 teams but everybody is open-minded and we will have a frank and open debate.”

Infantino added: “I will be happy if it stays at 32 teams as previously established. Qatar could insist on 32.

“But if everybody comes on board and thinks it might be positive to change to 48 we can have a look. All options will be on the table.

“Maybe, through Fifa and football, we could bring countries together and allow them to start having dialogue. Football can open up the doors to communication between nations.”

As for the suggestion that a 48-team tournament would dilute the quality of the World Cup, Infantino maintained: “The decision has already been taken, for 2026.

“We analysed the question very thoroughly and decided unanimously to extend to 48.

“The World Cup started with 13 team, then went up to 16, 24 and now 32. The number of members of Fifa and quality increased.

“In this World Cup we had teams who are normally regulars, like Italy, Holland, Chile, Cameroon, USA, who did not qualify. So the quality is certainly there.

“When we go to 48 teams that is less than 25 per cent of Fifa members. It’s still a reasonable number.”

 

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