Fifa president repeats election pledge of expanded World Cup comprising 40 teams.
Fifa president Gianni Infantino says Africa will get an additional two World Cup finals places if the tournament expands to 40 teams from 2026.
Infantino repeated his presidential election manifesto pledge to push for the World Cup to expand by eight teams to 40 and wants Africa to get at least two extra slots from 2026.
“I believe for the World Cup 2026 — because the 2018 and 2022 finals are already decided — there should be 40 teams… and out of the eight more there should be at least two slots for African teams,” he told reporters.
“This is what I declared during my campaign and as you know I’m not a dictator but a democratically elected FIFA president, so I have to speak to everyone and listen to everyone as well,” he added in Abuja.
The next two World Cup tournaments will comprise 32 teams with Africa having had five places since the last increase in 1998, except for 2010 when, with the tournament hosted in South Africa, there were six African nations at the finals.
The Fifa boss is still set to be interviewed by ethics investigators after allegedly breaching its code of ethics.
The allegations relate to a possible conflict of interest by using private jets provided by a World Cup-bidding country; that he filled senior posts without checking people’s eligibility for the role; and abusing personal expenses by billing Fifa for mattresses, flowers, an exercise machine and personal laundry.
If there is sufficient evidence then a full investigation by the ethics committee could be opened and Infantino could be suspended from his role for up to 90 days. There also remains a possibility that the Swiss could be banned from football, just months after he claimed he would usher in a new era for football’s governing body following the expulsion of the disgraced former Fifa president, Sepp Blatter.