FIFA confirmed a “full disregard” for the significance of home competitions by approving a 32-team Membership World Cup and an expanded World Cup, in line with LaLiga.
Forward of its congress in Kigali, Rwanda, FIFA introduced on Tuesday that the 2026 World Cup will characteristic 104 matches as a substitute of the present 64 as a result of expanded format with 48 taking part groups.
The governing physique has additionally given the inexperienced gentle to an expanded Membership World Cup to be performed each 4 years from June 2025.
However the selections have been criticized by LaLiga, with the Spanish prime flight saying: “FIFA continues its fault of creating unilateral selections on the world soccer calendar, exhibiting full disregard for the significance of nationwide leagues and the soccer neighborhood. normally.
“FIFA utterly overlooks the financial injury these selections are inflicting on leagues world wide. The leagues haven’t been consulted on any of the adjustments introduced immediately, particularly on the brand new annual membership competitors.
“These selections fail to bear in mind the aggressive, sporting and financial affect on home leagues, golf equipment and gamers by additional cramming an already overloaded schedule. FIFA solely considers a small group of golf equipment and gamers .”
LaLiga added that and different leagues within the World League Discussion board (WLF), a corporation representing skilled affiliation soccer leagues, would “analyze FIFA’s selections and determine on essentially the most applicable subsequent steps”.
In December, the WLF criticized the creation of a 32-team Membership World Cup, saying it may have opposed penalties for the soccer financial system and participant welfare.
PFA: Schedules impacting the well-being of gamers
The Skilled Footballers’ Affiliation additionally denounced the adjustments, with Maheta Molango, the union’s chief govt, saying: “Essentially the soccer calendar wants a whole reset.
“The expanded World Cup format introduced for 2026 implies that, once more, extra video games are being pressured into an already overloaded schedule.
“It’s proper that FIFA has listened to gamers’ considerations and introduced the creation of a activity power to deal with important points associated to match congestion and participant welfare.
“Nevertheless, it is rather tough to see how this strains up with the ever-expanding home and worldwide calendar.
“We all know that the present workload of gamers has a everlasting affect on their well-being, each on and off the pitch. We will not simply push them till they break.”
The revamped match schedules have been accredited by the FIFA Council, the principle decision-making physique of the world soccer group which has 37 members, together with President Gianni Infantino and 28 others elected by member associations.
How will the 2026 World Cup happen?
The 2026 match in the US, Mexico and Canada will characteristic 12 teams of 4 groups. The highest two groups advance to the Spherical of 16 with the highest eight groups seeded third.
FIFA was contemplating a 12 three-team group format, however the pleasure generated by the normal four-team group format used on the Qatar World Cup helped persuade the FIFA Council to keep it up. teams of 4 groups.
The mixed variety of relaxation, launch and match days stays the identical as earlier World Cups in 2010, 2014 and 2018 – 56 days.
Because of this groups reaching the ultimate will now must play eight matches, as a substitute of the seven performed by Qatar 2022 finalists Argentina and France.
The ultimate in the US will happen on Sunday, July 19, 2026.
Why FIFA ‘redesigned’ the World Cup format
Sky Sports activities Information chief reporter Kaveh Solhekol:
“FIFA had an issue as it will likely be the primary World Cup with 48 groups, in order that they have been making an attempt to determine the way it was going to be organised.
“It was going to be 16 teams of three groups and you could possibly have had the scenario the place two groups solely performed two video games earlier than being knocked out and going dwelling.
“FIFA rethought, which was accelerated by the World Cup in Qatar. FIFA thought the World Cup in Qatar was thrilling – there was a lot threat and a lot at stake.
“That is why they reviewed it and at this assembly of the FIFA Council in Rwanda, it’s going to be formally accredited.
“Plenty of traditionalists will say they don’t seem to be proud of 48 groups as a result of it is too many groups and the standard will endure. It is also unhealthy for the atmosphere to have extra groups stealing round Mexico, Canada and the US.
“The opposite argument, although, is that FIFA is made up of 211 totally different international locations and solely 78 of these international locations have ever performed within the World Cup. So that they lobbied FIFA to say they needed to have an opportunity. to play within the World Cup, in any other case their soccer requirements is not going to enhance.
“If you happen to take a look at the allocation of slots, within the World Cup in Qatar we solely had 5 African international locations, despite the fact that there are 54 African international locations in FIFA.
“Their slot allocation goes to go up from 5 to 9, there’ll now be eight groups from Asia, six groups from CONCACAF, so if you happen to take your blinders off and watch soccer not simply from a Western European perspective , the remainder of the world – effectively, the individuals I discuss to – love that the World Cup is expanded and that it truly is the World Cup.”
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