UEFA requests for 16 European teams in World Cup reform
President Aleksander Ceferin is hoping UEFA are represented by “at least” 16 teams at the World Cup from 2026 onwards as part of the reform voted in by FIFA last month.
FIFA members agreed to increase the tournament to 48 teams in nine years’ time – the idea having been proposed initially by president Gianni Infantino – but the breakdown by confederation has yet to be determined.
It will, however, include 16 groups of three teams each with Ceferin also hoping the European qualifiers are kept apart in the first phase.
Ceferin, speaking at the UEFA Executive Committee in Nyon, told a press conference: “We should be realistic. We can push and be outvoted, but we think it is realistic to ask for 16 slots at least, plus another condition that each European team is in different groups.
“Then if it is true that we are so good, that quality is on our side, I think all 16 can qualify.”
UEFA’s Executive Committee approved a series of governance reforms at the meeting in Switzerland, the main one being the capping of presidential terms to three four-year stints.
Also, in a bid to further foster a strong working relationship between the governing body and leading clubs, the committee voted to grant two member positions on its Executive Committee to representatives of the European Club Association (ECA).
The reforms will need to be ratified at the UEFA Congress in Helsinki on April 5.
Ceferin said: “I am very pleased that the Executive Committee gave a unanimous backing to reforms I consider essential for the strengthening of UEFA and which formed a key pillar of my presidential manifesto.
“I am convinced that our member associations will also endorse these good governance proposals to create a stronger and more transparent governing body for the good of European football.”