FIFA have confirmed that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be limited to 32 teams following the completion of a feasibility study.
The association had sought to increase the flagship tournament to 48 teams by involving neighbouring countries.
The study also examined the feasibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament alone by ‘lowering certain key FIFA requirements.’
In both cases, the study concluded that such amendments were not possible and that no proposal to expand the tournament in 2022 would be submitted at Congress on June 5th.
Qatar is currently engaged in a diplomatic conflict with neighbouring Saudi Arabia which has seen the states back opposing sides in both the Yemeni and Libyan Civil Wars.
It was also concluded that, due to the advanced stage of preparations for the tournament, which is less than three years away, the necessary adjustments could not be made in time.
FIFA statement in full:
In line with the conclusions of the feasibility study approved by the FIFA Council at its last meeting, FIFA and Qatar have jointly explored all possibilities to increase the number of participant teams from 32 to 48 teams by involving neighbouring countries at the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.
Following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process with the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, it was concluded that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.
Additionally, FIFA and Qatar have once again explored the feasibility of Qatar hosting a 48-team tournament by in particular lowering certain key FIFA requirements. A joint analysis, in this respect, concluded that due to the advanced stage of preparations and the need for a detailed assessment of the potential logistical impact on the host country, more time would be required and a decision could not be taken before the deadline of June. It was therefore decided not to further pursue this option.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June.