The International Federation (FIFA) is considering changing the way the 2026 World Cup is held, as it fears that the group stage will bring boring matches and provide an opportunity for unsportsmanlike behaviour.
In the Qatar World Cup that is currently being held in the semi-finals, the first stage was held in groups of four teams according to previous practice, and in the final round many of the quartet had very interesting results, but for the next World Cup the number of players will increase from 32 to 48 according to plans
National teams will advance from 16 groups of three teams.
Similar to the current situation, there would be two runners-up, but only one eliminated, so there would be a risk of too many matches with no bets – for example, if there were two national teams in the last group who started with a win, ie. Already at 32 by that time he met – and there will be more chances to shape the outcome favorably.
In the 2026 World Cup, which will be jointly organized by the United States, Canada and Mexico, after the group stage, the fight will continue from the best of 32 matches in a direct elimination system. At the same time, alternative solutions are on the table in terms of implementation, and the FIFA Council will decide on them next year.
According to Arsene Wenger, FIFA’s head of global football development, two versions can be considered. According to one of them, there will be 12 groups of four teams, in which in addition to the first two places, the best third-place groups will advance,
According to the other, the field will be divided into two halves of 24 teams, six groups of four teams will be formed into these groups, and in the end the winner of the two fields will play the final.
However, the mod will lead to an increase in the number of matches. In the current system, 64 matches will be played in 29 days, in the 2026 World Cup, according to the original plan, there will be 80 matches in 32 days, and with the change, 104 matches will be arranged, with an extension. at least one week.
Fifa also fears that the World Cup will become a very prolonged event, which may come at the expense of quality.
At the same time
More matches means more TV revenue.
The World Cup in Qatar brings in $7.5 billion in television royalties and sponsorships, which is $1 billion more than four years ago in Russia.
Editorial photo: MTI/EPA/Georgi Likovski