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Africa Demands 10 Slots in Expanded World Cup List

February 24, 2017 at 01:00 pm | Entertainment

Fredrick Ngugi

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

February 24, 2017 at 01:00 pm | Entertainment

Football fans during a World Cup tournament in South Africa. A Poem A Day Project

Africa has asked world football governing body FIFA to give it 10 slots in the expanded list of World Cup participants.

The request was made on Wednesday by the South African Football Association (FA) Chief Danny Jordaan who maintained that the continent’s football association presidents were unanimously in support of the idea, reports Reuters.

Speaking at a three-day summit held between FIFA President Gianni Infantino and more than 50 presidents of the African football associations in Johannesburg, South Africa, earlier this week, Jordaan said the time has come for Africa to double its current five positions in the World Cup tournament.

“All associations back the idea to expand the World Cup, and there is the hope that Africa can have 10 places in future,” Jordaan said.

Stiff Competition

Although Africa has every right to ask for more positions in the list of World Cup participants, it is facing serious competition from other continents, which also want a slice of the bounty.

Europe, which currently has 13 positions, wants the number raised to 16, with the top three progressing to a 32-team knockout phase under the new FIFA policy.

Asia, on the other hand, expects to gain five more places on top of its current 4-1/2 positions, while South America wants a total of six positions up from its current 4-1/2.

Other competitors in the CONCACAF region, including the Caribbean and Central and North America, want 6-1/2 places up from the current 3-1/2, with Oceania getting one automatic position at the finals instead of 1/2.

However, these allocations will have to be approved by the FIFA Council.

Bloated New FIFA Format

On January 10, the FIFA Council unanimously approved a new World Cup arrangement, which proposed to increase the number of teams participating in the global soccer tournament from the current 32 to 48 teams.

Under the new formation, the World Cup competition will feature 16 groups of three teams, from which the top three will progress to the knockout stage. With the expanded list, the number of games played at the tournament has automatically increased from the current 64 to 80.

These changes will take effect in the 2026 World Cup competition.

An expanded list means additional revenue for FIFA, with analysts estimating that the new format will rake in an additional £521 million.

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