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FIFA in talks for 40-team World Cup starting in 2026

December 3, 2015

ZURICH (AP) — The FIFA executive committee could expand the World Cup to 40 teams starting at the 2026 tournament.

According to a document seen by The Associated Press, the plan to add eight teams and 32 matches is part of the reform proposals being considered Thursday. If accepted, it can become FIFA policy without the approval of the 209 member federations.

The 2026 bidding should start next year with the United States, Canada and Mexico the expected candidates. The U.S. would likely be the favorite for a tournament needing a minimum 12 stadiums for a 96-match World Cup.

The probable format would be eight five-team groups, with the top two advancing to the round of 16.

The 40-team World Cup was first suggested by UEFA President Michel Platini in 2013.