World Cup winner Xavi warns 48-team event in 2022 'will not be good'

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The Barcelona icon is a global ambassador for a tournament due to be held in Qatar, but believes expansion would be "too much and too long"

Spain legend and World Cup 2022 global ambassador Xavi believes a 48-team tournament in Qatar 'will not be good'.

In 2017, FIFA voted to add an extra 16 teams to the 2026 competition, which will be held in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

The Qatar tournament is currently scheduled to take place between November 21 and December 18 2022 with 32 teams, but FIFA president Gianni Infantino is pushing to bring forward the expansion.

At a FIFA Council meeting in Miami on Monday, the governing body decided to defer the final expansion decision.

Infantino said:“We have published to our council members a feasibility study which is quite a thorough document, where we came to the conclusion that, yes, it is feasible to move the World Cup in 2022 from 32 to 48 teams. It is feasible, provided certain conditions are met.

“So, to be very clear, today we have a World Cup in Qatar of 32 teams, and this is great like this. 

“However, since we decided in January 2017 that we should increase the number of teams participating in the World Cup from 32 to 48 – this will happen as of 2026 – and following a request received by the 10 South American associations last year, we are looking into the matter and seeing whether it is possible, whether it is feasible to anticipate this in 2022. 

“If it is feasible, if it is possible, great. If it is not feasible, if it is not possible, great.” 

Xavi, a 2010 World Cup winner who now plays in the Qatar Stars League for Al Sadd, believes 32 teams is "more than enough" for Qatar.

"It's too much and too long," said the Barcelona icon.

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"Imagine 48 teams in Qatar, it will not be good in my opinion.

"It's still for the organisers to decide, but for now Qatar is doing everything to prepare for 32 teams and it will be difficult to change it for more teams.

"Also, it's good for football to have 32. That's more than enough."

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