January is the month football world will know what FIFA’s plans are for future World Cups.
Current President Gianni Ifantino rode to the hot seat on the back of numerous promises to the 211 member nations; one of which was to increase the number of World Cup participants from 32 to 40.
For whatever reason, the Italian proposed an outright increase to 48 in October last year. As expected, many groups are calling for his head promising to do anything possible to take the president away from his fantasy dream with the Rummenigge-led European Clubs Association being at the forefront.
Well incase they’ve forgotten, decisions like this – just like the American Presidential polls – are never based on popularity votes, instead, delegates run the show and that’s where opposing factions will do well to focus. Even at that, Infatino’s closer proximity with these decision makers only serve to make the rope more twisted.
At the risk of it not sounding as though the whole world is against – because they’re not – citizens of low ranked countries will obviously endorse the president’s proposal and should any of the delegates hail from there he or she is most likely going to go with the background voice of his or her country man.
The current plan being tabled is a World Cup comprising of 48 teams divided into 16 groups of 3 with the top two progressing to 32 knockout round and from there till the final match. I know, it’s ridiculous and it is hard to see how such a poor arrangement can be given a go-ahead, it still doesn’t mean the 48-team plan won’t still be carried out. For all we know there are other versions – like 12 groups of four – are being proposed.
Besides that, the main point of contention is how inconvenient it is going to be for established football powers and how tempting it will for countries made to look-in from the outside for years. It is a case of pitting the poor against the stupendously rich in a battle where the size of one’s bank account will hardly hold any sway. A dicey face off awaits us all.