October 20, 2020
October 20, 2020

Africa ‘will support’ 2022 World Cup expansion



Africa “will definitely support” expanding the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams, says the Confederation of African Football (Caf) vice-president.

Fifa’s Council is meeting in Miami on Thursday and Friday when it will discuss the possible expansion.

With Africa’s World Cup allocation set to double, the views of Nigeria’s Amaju Pinnick may come as little surprise.

“Caf will definitely support the vision of (Fifa president) Gianni Infantino if he wants this,” he told BBC Sport.

“Why wait until 2026 if we can achieve it now? If you do it now, there will be more money and more participating teams.

“In Africa we are going to have another 4.5 (places), which makes more sense to us – rather than just going with 5 nations. That’s why Africa will always support Infantino.”

Because of its small geographical size, Qatar would need the support of regional co-hosts to stage a 48-team finals.

Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that a leaked Fifa feasibility study into the prospect of expanding the 2022 World Cup could work if at least one of Qatar’s neighbours was used as an additional host.

Stadiums in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have been identified as suitable yet only two of these countries would appear feasible at present – Kuwait and Oman.

Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE severed diplomatic ties with Qatar in 2017, accusing the country of supporting terrorism – an accusation it denies.

“The involvement of additional neighbouring host countries would require certain conditions to be met, in particular the consent of the relevant authorities in the main host country, Qatar,” the Fifa report stated, according to AP.

Qatari officials are set to meet Fifa leaders on Friday, when the Fifa Council will discuss a feasibility study organised by the world governing body’s task force.

A final decision on the possible expansion – which would come ahead of a pre-existing decision to have 48 teams in the 2026 World Cup in Canada, Mexico and the United States – is expected to be taken at the Fifa Congress in June.

“Make it like a Middle Eastern World Cup, and what does that do? It heals the wounds of politics. Football heals wounds where other diplomatic moves fail, so they should capitalise on that,” added Pinnick

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