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FIFA considering major changes to World Cup format in 2026

FIFA are finally set to announce the new format for the group stages of the 2026 World Cup according to director of football development at FIFA, Arsene Wenger

FIFA president Gianni Infantino and Director of football development, Arsene Wenger

Arsène Wenger, director of football development at FIFA, has said there are three scenarios for the group stages of the 2026 World Cup which will be the first of 48 teams.

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There have been suggestions of possible format systems in recent weeks but a few of these ideas have been met with some criticism. However, FIFA are now set to announce a definitive group system for the tournament set to be hosted by the USA, Canada and Mexico. This will be the first World Cup with 48 teams, 16 more than the current format.

Former Arsenal manager, Arsène Wenger who has been the director of global football development since November 2019, spoke about the three scenarios considered for the 2026 showpiece.

Arsene Wenger has been very vocal about the ideas being worked on by FIFA

"It is not decided. There will be 16 groups of three, 12 sets of four or two large table sides each with six groups of four. It's like having two 24-team tournaments," Wenger said, adding: "The FIFA Council will make the decision, I think next year."

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has reportedly backed out of the previous plan to have 16 groups of three teams.

It now appears that Fifa are set to proceed with 12 groups of 4 teams each with the best two from each group qualifying as well as eight best third-place finishers.

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