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FIFA, the international soccer football association, announced that the next world cup in Qatar 2022 will continue to be played with 32-teams. FIFA planned to expand the tournament to 48-teams but Qatar had only eight stadiums and regional internecine conflict prevented neighboring Mid East nations from hosting the added 16-matches.
The 48-team event will occur in 2026 when the USA and Mexico host the Cup. This will be a financial boom for all parties involved. More interest in Cup qualifying games. A predicted larger global viewership of the event and subsequent greater broadcast revenue. Larger sponsor fees. More revenue from in-game attendance, and added merchandise income.
The plan might offer 12-pools of four teams each instead of the existing eight pools. The quarterfinal rounds would narrow the field to 24-squads until a four-team semi-final.
In essence, a FIFA 48-team tournament would have approximately a 22-percent representation rate of all of the organization's members, a list that includes 195-countries, and about 30 other non-nation members like Bermuda, Hong Kong, and Northern Ireland.
(The reconfigured event could also offer eight pools of six teams each, with the top three elevens moving into the 24-squad quarters.)
The FIFA expansion is being closely viewed by World Rugby, which also wants to increase the Rugby World Cup from 20 to 24-fifteens. It is doubtful that this expanded configuration will take place in France RWC by 2023, but certainly, for the following RWC in 2027.
A glance at the current rugby teams ranked 18 to 24 indicates teams that have played in past World Cups, and others that have never qualified.
The above lower teams border Tier 3 level, and would not challenge the higher nations, falling, judgmentally, by large scores. Remember than in all past eight RWC events, Tier 2 sides have managed only three upsets in pool play (i.e.; Western Samoa, Tonga, and Japan) against top ten ranked, Tier 1 sides.
Still, more qualifying fifteens would offer the same beneficial financial model as in the enlarged FIFA event.