The World Cup will be expanded from 32 to 48 teams, Fifa has decided.
The member organisations voted unanimously in favour of the decision. which has not been generally perceived as popular with football fans.
Fifa’s plan seems to be to simply squeeze more matches into the tournament, with the tournament total games set to rise from 64 to 80 games – a 25% increase.
Teams will qualify into 16 groups of 3 teams in the host country. The tournament will still be completed in a total of 32 days, as per the wishes of Europe’s top clubs.
This is the first change to the World Cup format since 1998.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino has argued that is is a more inclusive format, although critics are arguing that it is a transparent attempt to create more games to sell for TV rights. Even Infantino admitted that the potential profits from a larger World Cup were more than £500m greater than from a 36 team one.