FIFA prez Gianni Infantino has stated that a majority of national football federations are in favour of expanding the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams.
Although questions have arisen regarding the feasibility of such an enlarged tournament, Infantino said a decision would be made by March.
Qatar has been locked in a heated dispute with Gulf neighbours Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain that has complicated the prospect of sharing matches in an expanded tournament.
Those countries, as well as Egypt, began a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar in June 2017, accusing it of supporting terrorism. Qatar denies the claims.
FIFA last year voted to increase the size of the tournament from 32 to 48 teams starting from 2026 but, since then, Infantino has been mulling the possibility of bringing the change forward to 2022.
“We gathered the opinions as well of our members, the federations,” he said.
“So far, of course, the majority are in favour because 16 more teams participating not only means that 16 more countries will have World Cup fever, but 50 or 60 countries will be able to dream of qualifying for the World Cup.”
“Whether it is feasible or not is a different question.”
“Is it feasible to do it only in Qatar? Difficult probably,” he said, adding he did not want to share details of discussions with Qatar with the media.
“Is it feasible to have a few games played in neighbouring countries? Maybe this is an option.”
“Of course, I’m not naive enough to not know and read the news, and what’s going on, but we are in football not in politics and in football sometimes dreams come true.”