FIFA Confirms Expanded 2026 World Cup

    Photo: Reuters

    The Facts

    • On Tue., ahead of its congress in Kigali, Rwanda, FIFA announced that the 2026 World Cup will have a record 104-game program as the tournament will expand from 32 to 48 teams.

    • The announcement means that the event co-hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the US will have 40 more matches than its latest edition in Qatar last year. Originally, the 2026 World Cup was expected to have 80 matches.

    The Spin

    Narrative A

    Though FIFA has finally recognized the obvious mistake that it would be making to get rid of four-team groups, 104 games in 40 days is just too much in a calendar that has been increasingly congested. Instead of promoting the wellness of the game and players, soccer's governing bodies are focused on exploiting it to maximize their financial and political capital.

    Narrative B

    These changes are indeed disturbing to Europeans as the status quo satisfies their interests, but most FIFA member associations are dependent on the money the governing body remits via development grants. This expansion is not only financially important as the World Cup is by far the main revenue source for FIFA, but it is also an inclusive move that will ensure 16 new countries in the tournament.

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