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Federation Internationale de Football Association to explore expanding 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams

16 March 2019

But he has been forced to drop the Nations League plan before Friday's meeting of the FIFA Council in Miami, after his own task force said there is no space for such a tournament in the worldwide calendar.

The women's under-17 World Cup has 16 nations and Das had said that they can host matches at "just four cities". "If it doesn't happen, fantastic also", said Infantino.

Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and United Arab Emirates were named as potential co-hosts, though the latter three countries would only be allowed to do so on the proviso their governments end their on-going diplomatic blockade of Qatar. Like the men's under-17 World Cup, the women's edition, too, has to be held in October and November.

AIFF general secretary Kushal Das had confirmed the development to the Indian Express and said, "We want to bid for the under-17 women's world cup and wanted to understand the procedure".

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"We will move to the next stage, we will explore the possibility of who could potentially be hosting some of the Games in the Gulf regions", Infantino said.

The Club World Cup is now an annual seven-team tournament which attracts minimal interest in Europe - the centre of the football business.

Infantino added that club football was "evolving at a different pace in different parts of the world" and it was Fifa's duty to put on an "exciting, prestigious and inclusive competition, and we'll have that with this Club World Cup, starting in 2021".

Following Infantino's announcement, a spokesperson for the ECA said: "ECA clubs will not participate in 2021 CWC and will assess participation in editions of the competition post-2024".

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The letter, sections of which were published in the German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung says they are "firmly against any approval of a revised Club World Cup at this point in time and confirm that no ECA clubs would take part to such a competition".

The announcement comes in the face of considerable opposition from European clubs. "We'll continue our discussions, but it's our responsibility today to take a decision and we have to deal with organization matters".

The ECA could even consider suing Federation Internationale de Football Association if it ignors their 2015 deal on the worldwide match calendar.

The competition, however, immediately faced a boycott from Europe's leading clubs, which include the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester United.

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VAR made its World Cup debut at the men's tournament in Russian Federation a year ago.

Federation Internationale de Football Association to explore expanding 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48 teams