FIFA president Gianni Infantino said Wednesday that world football’s governing body is still pondering a 48-team 2022 World Cup in Qatar, saying that “anything is possible” following Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un’s summit in Vietnam.
“I think it’s worthwhile having a look at the idea and trying (to implement it). Obviously it won’t be easy, but we’ve already made the decision to have 48 teams for 2026, so why not before?” Infantino said at FIFA’s final Executive Football Summit of the season, held in Rome.
Infantino, who will be unopposed for his re-election as the head of FIFA, floated the possibility of playing matches outside Qatar in order to accommodate the extra teams.
Qatar has been in the midst of a diplomatic crisis for two years with its neighbours Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, making a co-hosting option with those countries tricky to organise.
“It will be very difficult to organise it only in Qatar, because of the country’s geography, so we are wondering if we can play a few games out of the country,” Infantino added.
“The geopolitical situation is complex but I see that Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un met today, so that means that anything is possible.”
The FIFA chief also said that the Women’s World Cup will change the perception of women’s football, 100 days from the start of the tournament, which is being held in France between June 7-July 7.
“I am convinced that after this World Cup, the way women’s football is looked at around the world will change,” he said.
“We expect a billion viewers and 1.3 million fans in the stadiums. Media interest is very high and women’s football deserves it.”