In a bid to widen the game's global appeal and enrich its coffers, the FIFA panel endorsed a format with 16 groups of three nations, a tweet from FIFA's official account said.
The move represents the first major change to the World Cup format since the tournament was boosted from 24 to 32 teams for the 1998 tournament in France.The FIFA Council unanimously decided on a 48-team #WorldCup as of 2026:— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) January 10, 2017
16 groups of 3 teams. Details to follow after the meeting.
Infantino took charge of scandal-tainted FIFA 11 months ago with a vow to repair the damage done at the end of Sepp Blatter's tenure by growing football across the globe.
Enlarging the World Cup, the planet's top sporting competition, was the centrepiece of that plan.
The controversial proposal faced tough criticism in some of football's key camps, including warnings that it would dilute the quality of play and overburden already exhausted players.
But Infantino had in recent weeks voiced confidence that his flagship project would be approved.
The FIFA chief has noted that a bigger tournament would beef up FIFA's coffers.
And a confidential FIFA report seen by AFP projects a 48-team tournament would bring a cash boost of $640 million (605 million euros) above projected revenues for next year's finals in Russia.FIFA has confirmed the World Cup will expand from 32 teams to 48. Here's how the plan will work: https://t.co/tLr7R7slNS pic.twitter.com/FsCT34kli8— CNN (@CNN) January 10, 2017
But Infantino has also argued that more World Cup berths would help serve football's interest by boosting "inclusion" in the "biggest social and sporting event".
Crdt: FIFA, DailyMonitor, CNN.