Is Expanding World Cup Pool The Best Idea?
Despite there being issues in Brazil’s 2014 World Cup stadium progress, suspected racism in Russia, and dangerous heat and forced labor in Qatar, another topic has arose recently. Unlike the others, this one is actually good and two questions should be asked. Should FIFA increase the teams that qualify for the World Cup and if so, how many is the right amount?
UEFA president Michel Platini and FIFA president Sepp Blatter both offered their opinions on World Cup expansion and what regions the teams should come from. Blatter state his belief to FIFA Weekly that more teams should qualify from Africa and Asia, while Platini naturally thinks that more UEFA teams should qualify. In Blatter’s defense, he stated that there are more African and Asian teams than UEFA teams.
“It cannot be that the European and South American confederations lay claim to the majority of the berths at the World Cup (18 or 19 teams) because taken together they account for significantly fewer member associations (63) than Africa and Asia (100).”
However, UEFA teams are much more talented than African and Asian teams. That is not to say that more teams should not come out of Africa and Asia, but the top international teams and players, with many coming out of Europe, do not qualify for the World Cup.
Platini’s plan is more well-rounded and adds teams from four different regions: Asia, Africa, UEFA, CONCACAF, and CONBEBOL. Additionally, his plan would add five teams that increase the total number of World Cup teams from 35 to 40. With the five additional teams, there would be eight groups of five. According to Platini speaking to the Times, this plan would expand the World Cup by only three days.
“There are more countries so why reduce? 40 is not so bad. There are now 209 associations, and football (soccer) is changing. We can add two African, two Asiatic, two American and one from Europe. I support this idea totally.”
The earliest FIFA World Cup expansion would occur is the 2018 World Cup in Russia. What are your thoughts? Should FIFA expand the number of qualifying teams, or should they keep it the same? Where should the expanded teams come from? Personally, I believe that FIFA should expand the number of qualifying teams, but at this time, I am not sure from which confederations the extra teams should come from.