Football’s top brass are heading to Miami as FIFA’s Council gets together for one of its regular meetings. Generally, these gatherings are tepid affairs as football’s world governing body works through the minutiae of governing a game that has an official membership of more than 200 countries.
But this meeting will be different, as almost two years of high stakes manoeuvring should culminate in a decision that will not only determine what format the 2022 World Cup will take, but may influence the nature of country relations across the Gulf region for years to come.
Item 8 on the meeting’s agenda reads: “Feasibility study on the increase of the number of teams from 32 to 48 in the 2022 World Cup.”
Item 8 has its origins in FIFA president Gianni Infantino’s electoral manifesto, which combined social democracy with hard-nosed business.
On the one hand, the Swiss official campaigned on a platform of promoting equality across world football, a promise that somehow has had to be paid for.
It hasn’t helped that FIFA’s books have at times been threadbare, the fallout from years of dealing with corruption. Read more