FIFA has ditched plans to expand the playing field in the next World Cup 2022 in Qatar to 48 clubs from 32 due to "political and logistical issues".
The world governing football body, voted in January to include an extra 16 countries in the 2026 World Cup.
Since then, FIFA president Gianni Infantino began exploring the possibility of implementing the new format in 2022's mundial as well.
Journalist James Montague shared the news on Wednesday, May 22, while Martyn Ziegler of the Times reported that Infantino made the decision due to political and logistical issues.
The inclusion of 16 teams would have featured 16 three-team groups with the top two contenders from each group progressing to the knockout stage which would be 32 rather than 16.
Infantino was to scrap the idea of involving neighbouring middle East countries to expand the number of teams to 48 after reluctantly accepting it was too challenging to do so.
Regional relations have worsened in recent years with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and United Arab Emirates imposing an embargo on Qatar for purportedly supporting radical Islamist groups.
According to Times, Infantino is expected to announce that the 2022 tournament will remain at 32 teams at FIFA's congress on June 5 in Paris.
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The 2022 World Cup has already been moved from its traditional summer slot to due to the unfavourable high temperatures and will take place from mid-november through mid- December.
It was previously reported that Qatar had shown interest in accepting Iran's offer to host teams during the 2022 World Cup, but no decision was taken yet.
Iran extended its hand owing to Qatar's geographical size and the number of teams that will grace the quadrennial tournament in 2022.
FIFA also proposed increasing the number of teams in the World Cup to 48 from 32, further complicating matters as Qatar has not included the 16 extra teams in its planning.
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