Moscow: On the eve of the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, FIFA will hold its 68th FIFA Congress meeting at the Expocentre here in Moscow. The two-day Congress will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday with some very important announcements to be made at the meeting.
One of the most talking points on the agenda will be the possibility of bringing forward the ‘48-team World Cup’ concept by four years and to be implemented in the next edition of the World Cup, in 2022 in Qatar.
Other items on the agenda are votes on the 2026 World Cup bids between Morocco and a unified bid of the US, Canada and Mexico for the rights to host the World Cup, approval on the new formula to calculate the FIFA World Ranking and marking the beginning of the electoral process for the post of FIFA President.
48-team World Cup
Ever since FIFA President Gianni Infantino has taken charge of the office, he has made efforts to make the tournament bigger.
It was proposed that the 2026 edition would be the first one with 48 teams taking part in it, but recently CONMEBOl, South American association proposed to check the possibility if the idea can be implemented for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
The FIFA council, which met on Sunday, unanimously agreed that the matter will be discussed with Qatar and thus, to make any final decision about the same would be premature, but the matter will be discussed on Wednesday.
Bids for 2026 World Cup
It has been mostly a two-horse race for the hosting rights of the 2026 FIFA World Cup, between Morocco and a unified bid of the US, Canada and Mexico.
Following the publication of the Bid Evaluation Report by the 2026 Bid Evaluation Task Force, the FIFA Council designated the two bids – the one jointly submitted by the Canadian Soccer Association, the Mexican Football Association and the United States Soccer Federation, as well as the one submitted by the Moroccan Football Association – to be voted on by the 68th FIFA Congress.
On Wednesday, the FIFA Congress will determine whether to award the right to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup to one of the two candidates. In the event that the 68th FIFA Congress decides not to choose either of the candidates, FIFA will then launch a new procedure by inviting all member associations – except the four that are taking part in the current process – to submit a bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
New ranking system
After over two years of reviews and studies of different alternatives, the FIFA administration put forward to the FIFA Council an overhauled formula to calculate the FIFA World Ranking – a system that was on Sunday approved and will thus be inaugurated with the first official ranking following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.
Under the guiding principles of making the formula more intuitive and accurate; eliminating the potential for ranking manipulation; and providing equal opportunities to ascend for all teams, a group of sports specialists and statisticians developed a formula based on the Elo method of calculation.