The next edition will be jointly held in the USA, Canada and Mexico and Infantino stressed that he was extremely “bullish” about the global power that football wields
FIFA chief Gianni Infantino addresses the media at Doha yesterday. Pic/AFP
Why fix something that’s not broken? FIFA president has probably realised this and that’s the reason the next World Cup’s 48-team edition may not be a 16-group affair as mentioned earlier, but a 12-group contest. Speaking at the Main Media Centre here on Friday, Gianni Infantino said that the interesting four-team group format at the current edition has forced the authorities to re-think their three-team group plan. Many of the groups at this edition of the quadrennial showpiece were wide open till the last fixture of the league phase, heightening the interest among players and fans alike.
“The groups of four [at Qatar 2022] have been absolutely incredible until the last minute of the last match. We have to revisit or maybe at least re-discuss this four-group format and look at if it should be 16 groups of three or 12 groups of four. This is something that will be on the agenda in the next few weeks,” said Infantino.
The next edition will be jointly held in the USA, Canada and Mexico and Infantino stressed that he was extremely “bullish” about the global power that football wields. “The World Cup has been massive here, one of the best ever and we are convinced it will be incredible in North America too—three huge countries, 48 teams. So that’s more games, revenues will go up in terms of broadcasting, sponsorship, and hospitality,” said Infantino, specifying that FIFA have generated much more revenue than the previous cycle. “We can confirm the revenue is at USD 7.5 billion, which is one billion more in a period that was hit by a pandemic. For the next cycle, we have a budget of USD 11 billion of which almost USD 10 billion will directly go back into football,” he said, going on to anticipate that the next edition will be an even bigger success. “In USA, there will be huge stadiums that are now used for American football which have a capacity of close to 90,000. We had 3.37 million spectators [in stadiums] here and this was the best ever World Cup so far but we expect 5.5 million will travel for the next edition,” Infantino concluded.