Where will the next FIFA tournament be held and how many teams will there be?

Gianni Infantino - Martin Meissner/AP

Gianni Infantino – Martin Meissner/AP

The Qatar World Cup was the first-ever winter edition of the competition – and Argentina was left with no winners after a remarkable final against France.

Fans are already thinking about the next installment of the World Cup, which will also be groundbreaking as it will be jointly hosted by three countries and will expand to include 48 participating teams, all bidding for first place.

But who will host the next league and which countries will be competing to host in 2030? Here’s what we know so far.

Where will the next World Cup take place?

As the first tournament, the World Cup will be held in three host countries – America, Canada and Mexico – after the trio’s bid fended off a strong proposal from Morocco.

The games will be played in 16 different cities – 11 in the US, two in Canada and three in Mexico. The quarterfinals, semifinals and final will all be held in the US.

When is the next World Cup?

The exact dates of the 2026 tournament have not yet been announced, but the competition is expected to return to its traditional summer slot, from June to July.

How many teams will participate in the 2026 World Cup?
Currently, the World Cup has 32 teams all competing to be crowned champions. However, the tournament in 2026 will be contested by 48 teams.

FIFA said the decision to expand “will mean more participation, more opportunities for footballers around the world and more excitement on the pitch”.

Initially, a new competition format was unveiled by FIFA, in which 16 groups of three teams would compete for qualification. The top two teams from each group would advance to a round of 32, which would then be a single elimination through to the final.

However, it understood that FIFA is reconsidering this position after seeing the success and competition of the traditional four-team format used in Qatar.

A revised plan would most likely see the introduction of 12 groups of four, with the top eight third-placed teams also advancing to the final 32. Under that new format, including an additional round, the World Cup from 2026 could feature a total of 104 games.

How does FIFA decide on the host country?

The host country is determined through a rigorous bidding process. FIFA takes a number of factors into account when deciding which country or countries will host the tournament.

Many of these criteria relate to available infrastructure, including stadium capacity, accommodation for fans, transportation systems and facilities for the teams and referees themselves.

When will the 2030 World Cup be announced?

Despite being a long way off, several countries have already expressed interest in hosting the 2030 World Cup.

In 2018, it was announced that Morocco would make a bid for 2030 after they were unsuccessful at the 2026 tournament.

Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay also stated in August 2022 that they would make bids from four countries to bring the World Cup back to South America.

Saudi Arabia is also looking at a bid, possibly along with Egypt and Greece

In addition, Ukraine has joined Spain and Portugal in their bid to host the 2030 World Cup.

The official vetting process will take place over the next two years and an announcement is expected in 2024 after the 211 member associations cast their votes. This gives the winning host country six years to prepare.

This article will be updated with the latest information.

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