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Hassan Al-Thawadi - 48-team World Cup? Feasibility study being undertaken

11:28 AM MYT 17/12/2018
Hassan Al Thawadi
The decision on how many teams would participate in the next edition of the World Cup will be taken in March next year…

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has been batting for a 48-team World Cup for quite some time now. While the initial plan to expand the number of participants from 32 to 48 was scheduled for 2026 edition of the World Cup, the FIFA supremo has mentioned that there is a chance that the decision could be brought forward.

It must be noted that the 2022 World Cup would be played for 28 days as opposed to the original 32 day period given that the next edition would be held in the winter months of November and December.

Whether Qatar would be able to host a 48-team affair is up in the air as a feasibility study is being undertaken.

“Currently there is a feasibility study being undertaken. The decision will be taken between FIFA and Qatar as the president (Infantino) had mentioned. And now we are just awaiting the results of the feasibility study to be able to look into the matter further,” said Hassan Al-Thawadi, the Secretary General of Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy to Goal.

There is also a proposal being considered of hosting four matches in a day with kick-off timings of 1000, 1300, 1600 and 1900 GMT.

“The match schedule is still not set out so I cannot comment on that until the match schedule is set. We are looking at different scenarios for the match schedule. Don’t forget, most matches at the end of the group stages is usually four matches in a day, so it is not something which is strange,” responded Thawadi when questioned whether it was feasible to hold four games daily during the group stages.

Thawadi also shared an update on the progress of the construction work of the stadiums and has earmarked the year 2020 as a crucial date in the build-up to the 2022 World Cup.

“The preparation is actually going along very well. Stadiums are moving along according to schedule. We are scheduled to finalise all construction work in the stadiums by 2020. The infrastructure work is also scheduled and ready to be operational by 2020 as well, whether we are talking about the railways, the metro system, the expressways and so on. And now we are moving on to the operational phase with FIFA where we are finalising our operational plans and ramping up our organisation capacity and capabilities for 2022,” said the high ranking official.