(Adds English FA reaction)
ZURICH, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Reaction to FIFA’s decision to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams, starting from 2026:
Victor Montagliani, president of the North and Central American and Caribbean Confederation (CONCACAF)
”From the organisational standpoint, there will be more games, more training facilities but it increases the opportunity for revenue, for exposure. In the end, I thought the decision was made for the right reasons.
”Some countries are maybe spoilt because they go all the time, like Germany, so maybe they take it for granted but, for a lot of countries making it to the World Cup, it’s the biggest thing to happen to that country.
“I think it’s an opportunity to have that dream expanded throughout the world... Even on the sporting side it’s a win.”
The European Club Association:
”We fail to see the merits of changing the current format of 32 that has proven to be the perfect formula from all perspectives. Questionable is also the urgency in reaching such an important decision, with nine years to go until it becomes applicable, without the proper involvement of stakeholders who will be impacted by this change.
“We understand that this decision has been made for political reasons rather than sporting ones and under considerable political pressure, something ECA believes is regrettable.”
European soccer’s governing body UEFA:
”It was clear that all other confederations were overwhelmingly in favour 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.”
Alejandro Dominguez, president of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL).
”This is a success for world football, from the perspective that we are here to develop football and everyone should have a chance to play with the ball.
“We have a new development which is very important for everyone... from now on, we have to sit down and work out how to put it into practice and how it will affect each one of the confederations.”
English Football Association statement
”Following today’s FIFA Council decision, we will work with UEFA, FIFA and the other European associations to understand how the 48-team FIFA World Cup will work.
”The priority has to be consideration of the potential impact on fans, players, teams and leagues, and also recognition of the importance of sporting integrity and commercial viability.
“In terms of the allocation of places, 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.”
German Football Federation president Reinhard Grindel:
”My concern is that football will change and the attractiveness of the game will suffer. We all love games where teams face each other openly.
“Now I see the danger that in the future we will see more defensive-minded teams. If the World Cup stops being as attractive then fan and sponsor support suffers as well as does its marketing.” (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann and Brian Homewood)