President of world football governing body, Gianni Infantino, has confirmed that Africa will get more than seven slots in the proposed 48-team World Cup.
FIFA boss Infantino was speaking to journalists in Ghana where he is on a one-day official visit. ‘‘African representation will definitely be more than seven. Now the precise number we are still working it out,’‘ he said.
He further confirmed that FIFA’s investment in African football had spiked from $27m to $94m a year as part of efforts aimed at developing the sport further.
African representation will definitely be more than seven. Now the precise number we are still working it out
The heads of Africa’s football associations recently pitched for 10 slots in the expanded World Cup. The figure of 10 meant that they were seeking to double the number of the continent’s teams at the global football showpiece.
The request was thus made to the FIFA president at a two-day meeting in South Africa. There had been speculations that under the 48-team World Cup format FIFA intended to give Africa nine slots. The format is targeted to kick off with the 2026 edition of the tournament.
Africa has had five slots since the 1998 World Cup in France but no team from the continent has succeeded in winning the four-year tournament. The World Cup is the world’s most watched competition.
No African country has also gone further than the quarter-finals and the 2014 World Cup was the first in which two teams from the continent reached the knockout stage.
Europe is also seeking at least 16 slots, up from 13, Asia wants between 8 and 9 from 4.5 and South America will go up to six, up from 4.5.
The final allocation of places will be passed by the Fifa Council. Africa’s seats on the council has also been increased from the current four to seven.