FIFA presidential candidate and UEFA General Secretary, Gianni Infantino, spoke about expanding the FIFA World Cup as he looks to succeed Sepp Blatter.
The 45-year-old will stand for the 2016 elections as FIFA look to appoint a new president following the corruption scandal surrounding incumbent president Sepp Blatter, which even former UEFA General Secretary, Michael Platini was involved in.
“I believe in expanding the World Cup based on the experience we had in Europe with the Euros,” Infantino told AP,
according to . goal.com.
“Look at qualifiers now where some teams who have never qualified did and some teams which have always qualified didn’t make it. So it created a completely new dynamic in the qualification. It created new enthusiasm. If you are serious about developing football it must involve more associations in the best football event in the world: The World Cup.”
“It’s a question about Europe being present and making its voice heard. I could have continued as secretary at Uefa and see football ruined. Or put my face out there and work for football,” he added.
“When you have a function in football like mine with responsibilities you have to assume responsibility when times are difficult, to put yourself forward in order to try to change this and bring messages forward.”
Increased participation in the biggest football tournament of all
The Euros, which till 1992, involved only 8 teams has been expanded to 16 teams and the 2016 edition will see 24 teams participating in the tournament. The format will definitely increase participation and involvement of nations that would not otherwise have made the final cut.
It remains to be seen whether this transformation can be successfully made for the FIFA World Cup, one can only form an opinion after the exact schedule and format is put forward. But a World Cup with 40 countries will definitely be one to look forward to.