FIFA is set to approve an expansion of the men’s World Cup today with 40 more matches from the 2026 tournament in North America.
The original idea for the expanded 48-team competition in the United States, Mexico and Canada was to have 16 groups of three.
But the excitement generated by last year’s tournament in Qatar, when some groups went down to tense final games, has caused FIFA to rethink.
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FIFA had already agreed to enlarge the tournament from 32 to 48 teams.
Rather than having 16 groups each featuring three teams, FIFA will have 12 groups each with four countries, sources say.
The 2026 edition will now be the longest World Cup in history but the pre-tournament release period is set to be cut from 23 days to 16, which would mean players were not on duty for a greater length of time.
The new format will be approved at a meeting of the FIFA Council in Rwanda on Thursday.