Throughout previous changes, there were critics too, but that didn’t stop the World Cup from growing bigger and getting better.
As usual with change, they have been lots of complains and disagreeing opinions on the new format for the FIFA World Cup. While I understand the pessimisms, I also want people to stop complaining as the expansion is actually a good thing.
The expansion has always been the idea of FIFA President Gianni Infantino which he made public during his election campaign.
“I believe in expanding the World Cup based on the experience we had in Europe with the Euros,” Infantino was quoted to say by Guardian in 2016.
“Look at qualifiers now where some teams who have never qualified did and some teams which have always qualified didn’t make it.
“So it created a completely new dynamic in the qualification. It created new enthusiasm. If you are serious about developing football it must involve more associations in the best football event in the world: The World Cup.”
It is clear to see Infantino’s hopes with this expansion, to give smaller countries a chance at the biggest football tournament.
Several concerns have been drawn up by the critics of expansions, like how it will affect the quality of games. But that’s false. There are more than 32 good footballing countries in world football and expanding the World Cup to accommodate them is not a bad thing an on the long run, the expansion will help better the quality of football worldwide
European big clubs have a problem with the expansion over fears of increased demands on players. Those fears can, however, be dismissed as teams will still play a maximum of seven games in the World Cup. Teams who are eliminated in the first round will have played only two games.
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For Africa and Asia, the expansion is a hugely welcomed development as they are set to have more slots at the World Cup. Exposure to the biggest football for teams in Africa will open more opportunities for a new generation of players, coaches, administrators and fans.
FIFA is set to benefit heavy financially as research have revealed that a 48-team World Cup could bring in £5.29, giving a potential profit rise of £521 million. But it doesn’t end there, participating teams from Russia 2018 for reaching the group stage and this kind of revenue could go a long way in helping developing African countries.
It would help in giving hope to the poor kids in Africa with better infrastructures, training and education.
This is not the first time the World Cup has been expanded, in fact, this change will be the 10th alteration of football biggest tournament since its inception in 1930.
The first World Cup in Uruguay had just 13 teams, it was increased to first 16 and then to 24 before France 1998 where the familiar 32-team format was adopted.
Throughout these changes, there were critics too, but that didn’t stop the World Cup from growing bigger and getting better.
This new change sure has its cons, but the pros outweigh it, which is welcomed.