January 11 – Asian Football Confederation President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has welcomed FIFA’s decision to expand the World Cup to 48 teams saying it can only benefit the development of Asian football.
Shaikh Salman attended the FIFA council meeting on Tuesday and says raising the number of teams from 32 will open the door for many aspiring teams “to reach the pinnacle of the world game for the first time.”
Asia seems likely to get as many as eight places under the new 48-team format starting in 2026 and Shaikh Salman added: “We believe that Asia, as the biggest continent deserves more slots compared with the current quota, looking at the economic power it has, and the popularity for the game in Asia, in addition to the huge development for football at all levels.”
He also stressed that raising the number of teams in the finals will place greater responsibility on all Member Associations to strengthen their plans to further develop their national teams in a strategic way, as they aim to reach the finals.
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