One of the world’s biggest sporting events, the soccer World Cup, will expand to comprise 48 national teams beginning in 2026, in one of the first moves by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) since the departure of disgraced former President Sepp Blatter in 2015. FIFA officials said the expansion from 36 teams will secure it more than $1 billion in revenues. The decision was made Tuesday morning at a meeting at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, with the 37-member ruling council unanimously voting for an expansion of the quadrennial tournament from 2026. The number of matches played will rise to 80 from 64, but no team will play more than seven matches and the tournament be completed over the same period of time as current month-long version. The tournament will have 16 groups of three teams, with the top two sides in each group reaching a last-32 knockout stage.
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