December 9, 2016 / 6:03 PM / a year ago

Soccer-UEFA in the dark over possible World Cup formats

NYON, Switzerland, Dec 9 (Reuters) - European soccer’s governing body has been left in the dark over the future format of the World Cup and was not certain it would vote for an expanded tournament, its president said on Friday.

Aleksander Ceferin said UEFA had been getting information from the media because the game’s world ruling body FIFA had not replied to their request for more details of the proposals.

The FIFA Council, whose 37 members include seven from UEFA, is due to vote in January on the format of the tournament from 2026 onwards.

FIFA chief Gianni Infantino was elected in February after promising in his campaign to increase the number of teams at the World Cup from 32 to 40 starting with the 2026 finals.

He then said he wanted a 48-team tournament including a preliminary knockout round followed by four groups of eight.

This week he changed his mind again, proposing 48 teams divided into 16 groups of three.

Asked if UEFA would back an expanded tournament, Ceferin said: ”I am not sure we are getting that way.

”We don’t have much information from FIFA, we mainly read from newspapers about what is supposed to go on...(and) we get different formats every day.

“Until we get some concrete information about the format, about everything else, we simply don’t have any information.”

Ceferin said he hoped UEFA would get more details when the secretary generals of the continental confederations meet in Tokyo in December.

“We asked in October for an appropriate analysis to show what it means to extend the World Cup and FIFA didn’t produce it... so without proper information, we can’t say that we will be interested in that kind of World Cup.” (Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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