Team China hopeful as FIFA proposes 48-team World Cup format

Updated 2017-03-31 16:30:55

Gianni Infantino, President of FIFA, speaks at a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland.

The Bureau of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association(FIFA) Council has recommended that the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) receive 8 slots in the new 48-team World Cup format.

The proposal, a new slot allocation for the FIFA World Cup of 2026, increases the slots for Africa to nine, Europe to 16, South America to six, North America and Central America and the Caribbean to six, as well as Oceania to one direct slot. It accounts for 46 of the 48 participating teams.

The final two qualifying places will be decided in a six-team play-off tournament.

Excluding Europe, teams from the other five confederations will qualify for the playoffs. The World Cup host continent would provide the sixth playoff team.

The proposal will be submitted for ratification by the FIFA Council at its forthcoming meeting in May in Manama, Bahrain.

According to FIFA's national team rankings, the Chinese team is listed as No.86 in the world and No.9 in Asia.

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