The millions of dollars behind the World Cup of 48 teams that proposes the FIFA

FIFA can expect to raise over one billion additional dollars if it decides to expand the World Cup to 48 teams for 2026

The millions behind the World Cup of 48 teams that proposes the FIFA

FIFA's 2026 World Cup decision is taken. 48 teams will participate in this tournament playing 80 matches, a considerable increase to the 32 teams and 64 games we see today. According to the website of Deutsche Welle, the decision has been criticized by many in the football field, because according to the German coach Joachim Low this can dilute the quality of the championship. However, from an economic point of view it is a very lucrative decision that will allow FIFA to raise more than one billion additional dollars with its main event.

Leer en español: Los millones detrás del mundial de 48 equipos que propone la FIFA

The plan to expand the World Cup, which was unanimously approved by the FIFA council in January, can bring them a 20% increase in profit. According to the ESPN portal, it could go from the 5.5 billion earnings projected for the 2018 Russian World Cup to collect about 6.5 billion in 2026.

According to a BBC article, the millions could arrive even earlier, as it is known that FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been pushing for the 2022 World Cup that will be based in Qatar to be the first to expand to 48 teams.

The latter concerns Qatar, that even with its large bank account would be in serious trouble to host a World Cup of 48 teams.

To become hosts of the 2022 World Cup, FIFA demanded to Qatar 8 stadiums of at least 40 thousand spectators. This was a challenge for a country that did not have existing soccer infrastructure, but it was more than realizable considering the time and resources that the country had at its disposal. Now, FIFA can suddenly demand 4 more stadiums to accommodate an expanded World.

The decision of the 48 teams World Cup is part of a continuous effort of FIFA to globalize the sport of soccer. Including more countries from more regions in the main event of its calendar seems, without doubt, a way to achieve this goal.

But, although a 48-team World Cup can include more countries as participants, it reduces the number of countries that would be able to organize it.

For the 2026 World Cup, for example, the main candidate to host is a shared candidacy between Mexico, the United States and Canada. This is something that should be indicative of the size of the investment that organizing a World of 48 team can be.


Previous events, such as the case of Brazil in 2014, showed that organizing an event such as the World Cup always brings huge economic gains for FIFA, but the profits of the host country depend on many variables. The main one is the existing infrastructure, because if a country has to spend millionaire figures in adapting stadiums and tourist and hotel infrastructure, its profitability will be invariably lower.

Sports events such as the World Cup in South Korea and Japan, and the Olympics in London, were an economic success for the hosts precisely because they already had most of the existing infrastructure.

Mexico, the United States and Canada undoubtedly have the stadiums and hotels needed to host an event of the magnitude of a World Cup of 48 teams and make it an economic success. However, any other country that, like Morocco, wants to compete for the right to host, sees it now more distant.

Latin American Post | Pedro Bernal

Translated from "Los millones de dólares detrás de la idea de 48 equipos para el Mundial de la FIFA"