By Mac Izu Nelson

Proposals to increase the size of the competition have won the backing of the game’s governing body, polarizing opinion.

The new format, will see the finals comprise 16 groups of three teams before a 32-team knockout stage.

It was voted for unanimously by the FIFA Council at a meeting in Zurich on Tuesday ahead of 2026.

Ahead of his appointment to the job, FIFA president Gianni Infantino laid out plans for expansion as part of his campaign.

The FIFA president’s proposal won backing from a number of officials, including Nigerian Football Federation president Amaju Pinnick, who said on Monday that “most of Africa is excited about it”.

World cup winners like Diego Maradona and Carles Puyol have also spoken in favour of expansion.

The changed format will see 48 teams split into 16 groups of three teams, with the top two in each progressing to a round-of-32 knockout stage.

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