The 2026 World Cup is going to be the first one with 48 national teams participating. Despite this change, CONMEBOL wants to keep the competitiveness and has a petition prepared for FIFA that could change their entire plans.
CONMEBOL is one of the toughest zones to compete for a ticket to the World Cup. Now the format has changed for next year as 48 national teams will participate in the 2026 tournament. Despite this change, the South Americans are trying to keep challenges in their zone with a controversial petition addressed to the organization that could change all their plans.
Since Gianni Infantino started as FIFA president, he was clear that he wanted to change some things, including the World Cup. His plans were successful as the organization decided to switch from a 32-team format to a 48-national team starting in 2026.
But this controversial move was not well received by some people. Football fans are concerned that this change could affect competitiveness in the qualifiers. But now CONMEBOL has petitioned FIFA to keep that aspect safe and still have the new 48-team format in 2026.
CONMEBOL wants to keep the same Qualifiers’ format for the 2026 FIFA World Cup
With more teams playing in the 2026 FIFA World Cup, competitiveness could decrease, but CONMEBOL has a plan to prevent that from happening. The South American confederation asked FIFA to keep the same format they used today for the next tournament.
The CONMEBOL Council met on August 22 to discuss the qualification format for the 2026 World Cup. The petition was clear: avoid any adjustments and leave home and away matches as they are.
Despite this petition, it is unclear whether FIFA will agree. As of today, there are 10 national teams in CONMEBOL competing for four and a half tickets to the World Cup. In 2026, this number will change, as two more teams (6.5 places) will have the opportunity to advance.
FIFA is studying new formats for each confederation as more matches will be played in qualifiers. Organizations must also think in domestic leagues, which are likely to suffer schedule changes due to these moves.