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UEFA reluctantly support World Cup expansion; Germany, Spain hit out

FC Barcelona v Real Madrid CF - La Liga

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 03: Luis Suarez (2nd L) of FC Barcelona and Sergio Ramos (L) of Real Madrid CF fight for the ball during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF at Camp Nou stadium on December 3, 2016 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

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There is plenty of fallout from the decision to expand the 2026 World Cup to 48 teams.

[ MORE: World Cup expansion ]

With a unanimous vote cast in favor of adding 16 extra teams for the tournament, which the U.S. is the overwhelming favorites to host, its seems like everyone is on board.

Not so much.

As well as the German FA speaking out against expansion, word is now coming out of La Liga that the Spanish top-flight plans legal action against FIFA to overturn the decision on expansion.

La Liga claims that FIFA never consulted Europe’s leagues on the expansion plans which will now see plenty more players called on for international duty.

As for European soccer’s governing body UEFA, they were the only confederation who had spoken out against expanding the World Cup beyond its current 32-team format before the FIFA Council meeting which ratified the changes on Jan. 10.

UEFA voted in favor of having a 48-team World Cup but has released the following statement following the talks in Zurich.

“During the FIFA Council meeting in Zurich, it was clear that all other confederations were overwhelmingly in favor of expanding the FIFA World Cup to 48 teams starting in 2026. As a result, Uefa decided to join in supporting the new format of the competition. UEFA is satisfied that it succeeded in postponing the final decision regarding the slot allocation of every confederation in the future format of the FIFA World Cup.

“We would also like to state that we are happy that the new proposed length and format of the tournament does not increase the burden on players. We will also ensure that clubs’ interests will continue to be protected.”


The English Football Association has also released a statement on the decision and says “we note that further discussions will follow across the confederations and would expect a proper consultation process to be carried out before any decision is made.”

Simply put, even though this decision has been made by the FIFA Council it could face plenty of legal battles from elsewhere in the soccer world.

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