By Andrew Warshaw
July 17 – UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has warned against expanding the World Cup to 48 teams in 2022 for fear of disrupting the mid-season European calendar.
Although the tournament is not scheduled to increase from 32 finalists until 2026, FIFA president Gianni Infantino has the door ajar for expansion to be brought forward four years earlier.
But Ceferin says this would be a bad idea since the 2022 tournament is in November, right in the middle of the European league campaign.
“For me the main problem is that nobody has a position,” Ceferin told RT in an interview. “We get some information from the media, then everyone says maybe. The Qataris say we are not sure, FIFA says we are not sure. I think it will present a big problem calendar-wise.
“The World Cup in 2022 is in November and December. For 32 teams you less time than for 48. But it you want to put 48 in the same time frame, you would have to play six matches per day.”
On the subject of video assistant referees, Ceferin, who has already said he will not introduce the system in next season’s UEFA club competitions, is still concerned by the inconsistencies.
But, he said, he saw enough to convince him to adopt the system at some stage.
“It worked pretty well (in Russia) and I don’t think there is any way back. But it is still not clear enough. We are still not sure, for instance, if the referee has to stop when they call him, or whether they call him or not. We had some identical situations, one checked by VAR and the next time no.”
“But it doesn’t mean it will not happen. We will use it sooner or later for sure. We have to make an analysis following the World Cup and see what is and isn’t clear. It can be done but not in a month and not in two months.”
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