FIFA proposing 48 team World Cup with 16 groups of three teams

Three proposals

FIFA have sent their board of directors three different proposals to evaluate on reformatting the World Cup. They include maintaining the current format of 32 participating nations to a tournament of 40 teams and the final proposal of a 48 team competition. This third initiative is backed by Infantino and would see 16 groups of three teams in a first round with the top two moving through to a successive round. This would ensure a minimum of two games for each participant and it's is hoped by FIFA that this would lead to an increase in global audience and income. A definitive decision will be made at the forthcoming FIFA council meeting which will be held in Zurich on January 10 (2017).

REU SOCCER-WORLD/M64-GER-ARGGermany players celebrate with their trophy after winning the 2014 World Cup final between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro July 13, 2014. (Darren Staples/Reuters)

80 games

A World Cup involving 48 participating nations would mean an 80 game tournament and backers of this format at FIFA anticipate an incremental increase of 20% in revenue or an additional 1 million euro that it it's anticipated that Russia 2018 will financially generate. More games would mean more varying kick off times and they would be scheduled  according to the demands of the global television market.

German resistance

Head coach Joachim Loew of Germany looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group G match between Germany and Ghana at Castelao on June 21, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil.

At present many federations have come out and voiced their opinion against an increased number of competitors at the World Cup finals. German national team coach Joachim Löw claimed: “The format of the World Cup is fine as it is and increasing the teams would ruin things”. Löw added that the international calendar is already oversubscribed and players have physical limits”. He also stated that clubs wouldn't favour more games just so FIFA can bolster their economic income with a 48 team tournament.