FIFA is set to confirm a new format for the 2026 Planet Cup, extending the tournament to 104 games more than 39 days.
The selection will be authorized at a meeting of the FIFA Council later on Tuesday in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, exactly where globe football’s bosses have gathered for their annual congress on Thursday.
Hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States, the 2026 edition was currently going to be the greatest Planet Cup, with 48 teams, and will now be the longest, as well.
The original notion was to have 16 groups of 3, with the top rated two processing to a 32-group knockout competitors. That format would have involved 80 games, up from the 64-game format FIFA has utilized because 1998.
But groups of 3 have two substantial drawbacks: you shed the excitement of the final round of simultaneous group-stage games, and you raise the opportunity of the two teams in the final game colluding to engineer the outcome they require.
The most memorable instance of the latter, the so-referred to as “Disgrace of Gijon”, took location at the 1982 Planet Cup in Gijon, when West Germany and Austria successfully agreed on a 1- win for the Germans, as that was superior adequate for each to advance at Algeria’s expense.
Memories of this and other related scandals had clearly faded at FIFA, even though, as it authorized the 16×3 format when it agreed to expand the Planet Cup in 2017.
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The wisdom of that selection was referred to as into query by some academics but it was not till the final Planet Cup in Qatar that the calls to reconsider the format grew as well loud to ignore, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirming the rethink on the eve of the final.
The new format is for 12 groups of 4, with the eight finest third-placed teams joining the top rated two in the knockout rounds. This restores the jeopardy of the final round of group-stage games and reduces the opportunity of collusion.
The additional week will be discovered by cutting the pre-tournament release period from 23 days to 16, which is slightly significantly less than earlier summer season tournaments but twice as extended as players have been provided to prepare for the Planet Cup in Qatar. By carrying out this, FIFA is sustaining the tournament’s “footprint” to 57 days, 16 days just before it begins and then 39 days of competitors.
What this alter suggests for the allocation of games among the 3 host nations remains to be noticed, as the US was staging 60 games in the original format, with Canada and Mexico finding ten each and every.
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(Photo: Getty Photos)