The 2026 World Cup can have 104 matches as an alternative of the standard 64 video games as a result of expanded format involving 48 groups, world soccer governing physique FIFA mentioned on Tuesday forward of its Congress in Kigali, Rwanda.
The 2026 version, which can be co-sponsored by america, Canada and Mexico, would be the first version of the quadrennial match through which 48 groups will take part. The ultimate can be performed on July 19.
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The brand new format may even keep on with drawing 4 groups in a gaggle after a proposal for a three-team group was rejected for fears of collusion. Nonetheless, the variety of teams will enhance from eight to 12.
The unique plan for the 2026 version referred to as for a complete of 80 video games, however the choice to extend the variety of video games to 104 was accredited by the FIFA council at a gathering on Tuesday.
Historically, the highest two groups from every group advance to the final 16, however the 2026 version may even see the eight greatest third-placed groups advance to the knockout spherical of 32.
“The FIFA Council unanimously accredited the proposed modification to the competitors format of the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” FIFA mentioned.
“The revised format mitigates the danger of collusion and ensures that every one groups play a minimal of three video games, whereas offering balanced relaxation time between competing groups.”
The 32-team World Cup in Qatar final 12 months had a complete of 64 matches accomplished in 29 days. The final time Mexico (1986) and america (1994) hosted a World Cup, there have been solely 24 groups.
The match has featured 32 groups because the 1998 version, with eight teams of 4 and the finalists taking part in seven matches every. However the groups that attain the top sport in 2026 will now play eight video games in complete.
FIFA mentioned golf equipment should launch gamers for the World Cup beginning Could 25, 2026, except they’re in a significant closing, such because the Champions League closing, for which golf equipment can have till Could 30 to permit gamers to hitch their nationwide crew. tools
“At 56 days, the mixed complete variety of relaxation, launch and match days stays an identical to that of the 2010, 2014 and 2018 editions of the FIFA World Cup,” FIFA added.
Additionally on Tuesday, FIFA mentioned a 32-team Membership World Cup could be performed each 4 years beginning in June 2025, confirming an announcement made by FIFA president Gianni Infantino in Qatar final 12 months.
The 2021-2024 Confederation champions can be eligible to play within the Membership World Cup, that means Chelsea and Actual Madrid have already certified.
If both membership wins the Champions League once more, a membership rating calculation based mostly on sporting standards can be used to find out which different crew will qualify.
The present model of the FIFA Membership World Cup, an annual competitors with seven groups, can be discontinued after 2023 and a brand new annual membership competitors can be accredited beginning in 2024.
“This competitors will characteristic the champions of the foremost membership competitions from all confederations and can conclude with a closing to be performed at a impartial venue, between the winner of the UEFA Champions League and the winner of the intercontinental playoffs between the opposite confederations.” mentioned FIFA. .
A newly structured worldwide calendar was additionally accredited with nine-day home windows in March and June for 2 video games every, a 16-day window for 4 video games in September-October adopted by one other nine-day window for 2 video games in November.
The information was met with a combined response from the Skilled Footballers’ Affiliation (PFA), which mentioned it was involved about “bodily fatigue and psychological exhaustion” as a result of congested schedule. PFA chief government Maheta Molango went as far as to say the soccer calendar wanted a “full reset”.
“The expanded World Cup format that has been introduced for 2026 implies that, as soon as once more, extra video games are being pressured into an already packed schedule,” Molango mentioned.
The PFA mentioned it was inspired to see that FIFA had prioritized considerations equivalent to the necessity for a “minimal of 72 hours between matches, a compulsory day without work every week and an annual relaxation interval.”
“Nonetheless, it is extremely troublesome to see how that aligns with the fixed enlargement of the nationwide and worldwide calendar,” added Molango.
“We all know that the present workload going through gamers has an ongoing influence on their well-being. We will’t simply push them till they crack.”