World Cup Expansion (Update: FIFA Council Recommends Increase to 48 Teams)

Discussion in 'FIFA and Tournaments' started by shizzle787, Dec 4, 2015.

  1. shizzle787

    shizzle787 Member

    Apr 27, 2015
    Connecticut
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    Country:
    United States
    So FIFA has decided to slip this proposal through the back door:
    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/dec/03/world-cup-expand-40-teams-fifa-reform

    But it has staunch opposition (include myself):
    http://www.theguardian.com/football/2015/dec/04/fifa-world-cup-expansion-european-clubs

    I dislike the idea of a 40-team World Cup as it would dilute the tournament, which I feel is perfect as of now. Also, once a team gets there, the proposed format looks like 8 groups of 5 with the top 2 advancing, it would be more challenging to get out of the group, and 8 teams would not play on the final match day which could lead to collusion. All in all, I think it's a horrible idea, and I hope the ECA puts enough (financial) weight behind its opposition to stop FIFA.
     
  2. r0adrunner

    r0adrunner Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    London, UK
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Country:
    Italy
    I agree with you completely.

    As one who would prefer a 16-team competition, 32 is just about palatable, even if it is a bit of a stretch in terms of quality.

    It is like how UEFA has undermined the European Championship by expanding it to 24 teams.
     
    Paul Calixte repped this.
  3. napolisoccer

    napolisoccer Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Napoli
    Club:
    SSC Napoli
    Country:
    Italy
    I absolutely like 40 teams : ******** off the egoistic Europe !!!!!
     
  4. goussoccer

    goussoccer Member+

    May 23, 2001
    Avon, CT
    The disturbing part of this proposal was that it was viewed as an enticement to get the Asian and African Confederations to vote for the reform package -- basically, let's bribe you to do what is right. Doesn't this sound a bit oxymoronic: here, we'll buy your votes to pass a package that is aimed to stop people from being able to buy votes anymore!
     
  5. r0adrunner

    r0adrunner Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    London, UK
    Club:
    AS Roma
    Country:
    Italy
    That was only speculation by ignorant journalists, but that is not the intention behind the proposal. It was first suggested by Platini in June last year.
     
  6. goussoccer

    goussoccer Member+

    May 23, 2001
    Avon, CT
    That the genesis of the proposal to a 40-team WC started independently of the reform package is not the point --- that they included it in the Reform Package is silly, or even as a part of the same vote is silly. Why now for a WC that starts 11 years from now?

    This is the time for FIFA to get their house in order and do what they need to stay in business (at least that is their organizational responsibility). That the organization, at this time, is trying to make a major change to the World Cup is a very poor form. There is no reason for it.
     
  7. zahzah

    zahzah Member+

    Jun 27, 2011
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    The logic behind the 40 man World Cup and the reason the concept originated from Europe is that Europe don't want to lose its World Cup slots, whilst the only way to do this is to give additional slots to the so-called lesser federations.
     
  8. Football Lover NYC

    Aug 21, 2008
    My Room
    Club:
    Juventus FC
    Europe wouldn't lose spots regardless of the expansion happening or not.
     
  9. Chicago76

    Chicago76 Member+

    Jun 9, 2002
    Sure they could. They've been losing them over time since the expansion to 32 teams and UEFA's confed coefficient is slipping a bit. If the secondary UEFA teams aren't making 16s with the same frequency (and they aren't) then another spot or so could be at risk.

    Personally though, what I'd prefer to see is a way to get quals finished up a bit earlier and then have some sort of inter confed playoff with 12 or do teams for the last 3-4 spots. This seems like a more fair way to if the teams in the margins than to either expand the tournament or to reallocate spots.
     
    Mario in SJ, AlbertCamus and zahzah repped this.
  10. zahzah

    zahzah Member+

    Jun 27, 2011
    Club:
    FK Crvena Zvezda Beograd
    It could take the form of a mini-tournament that takes place in the summer preceding the World Cup.
     
  11. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Country:
    United States
    The World Cup draw is done in December before the World Cup with rules that UEFA can't have more than two teams in a group and no other confederation can have more than one. The draw couldn't be done that way if it wasn't known how many teams from each confederation qualified by then.
     
  12. Chicago76

    Chicago76 Member+

    Jun 9, 2002
    That's not a huge stumbling block though. You could arrange the playoff such that every confed throws a certain number of their spots back into the pot. UEFA might throw enough back such that they would have 12 teams minimum if no one qualified from the playoff or 16 teams max, thus guaranteeing no more than 2 per group.

    Re: December draw. There is nothing that would indicate it must be done then. You could do it in Jan or Feb. Still plenty if time to prepare/make accommodations for training bases.
     
  13. BocaFan

    BocaFan Member+

    Aug 18, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    But there are no int'l breaks after November until March anyway, so delaying the draw by a month or two won't allow for more qualifying games to be played.

    Agreed, but isn't it more likely that there would be 10 groups of 4? 5-team groups are tough as it would require 5 matchdays in thegroup-stage, thus a significantly longer tournament. If you had ten groups of 4 the tournament wouldn't take any longer to play.

    I think FIFA should be careful about making the tournament too long because interest around the world could wane. Having 8 teams that would not play on the final match day of the group-stage is also a problem, but a smaller one IMO since they can arrange the schedule so that the weakest/last qualifying teams are not playing those days. I mean, lets face it, the 8 "new" teams would be hopelessly noncompetitive assuming they come from CONCACAF, CAF, OFC and AFC. Thus it doesn't really matter if they aren't playing on the final matchday.
     
  14. BocaFan

    BocaFan Member+

    Aug 18, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    I think it would be difficult, if not impossible to have qualifying wrap-up a full year before the actual tournament. Especially if we're adding a new round to the qualifying procedure.

    But I don't think it would be necessary to have this "mini-tournament" so early. Hypothetically it only takes 2 int'l breaks to reduce 16 inter-continental playoff teams down to 4, so you could have 2 knockout rounds in October and November.
     
  15. Chicago76

    Chicago76 Member+

    Jun 9, 2002
    I'm not saying it would be easy, but with some qual shortening (what the clubs want anyway) it can work.

    UEFA this cycle as an example: run prelims for WC quals around Euro 2016 to reduce the field to 32. There are only about 8 non-Euro teams that have a prayer of qualifying anyway. 8 groups of 4. Pts from the other teams in the top 4 if a group of 6 are the deciding matches for quals currently anyway, so nothing is really lost there. Top team in each group auto quals. 4 winners of #2 playoff goes to WC. Losers to inter confed playoff. They are joined by 4 teams winning #3 playoff. Alernatively, could just base WC direct qual and playoff on pts, but I'm not a fan.

    Those 8 teams could join 4 CONMEBOL (3rd/4th place of 2x5) and 8 other teams (including Oceania bid) in 4x4 with group winners getting the last 4 spots.

    Would it require calendar adjustment? Certainly. It would also give bigger confeds a chance to earn more spots, smaller confeds the chance to send more teams off to play better competition outside their region, and it would shorten the qualifying time down during club season for the vast majority of the NTs, which is something the clubs would generally like. It would only require 3 matches to complete the inter-confed playoff, so it's not a huge time killer if done in the winter.

    I'm not saying this system is without issue, but it would expand the field by 12 teams without resorting to awkward groups/advancement scenarios while producing a stronger 32 team field. It also reduces confed allocation problems for the WC. Smaller confeds would still get roughly 12 direct spots while giving everyone a shot to earn more. If it would be easier to avoid confed playoffs by reducing direct quals to 24 and running a 6x4 for the last 6, this could work too. UEFA teams would then only play 6 matches max pre inter confed playoff assuming they were in Euro, and they'd be doing it vs the quality of teams that matter in 6 team groups anyway.
     
  16. tudobem62014

    tudobem62014 Member

    Feb 26, 2014
    Club:
    FC Barcelona
    Well deserved for Concacaf at least given the results of the KO round last World Cup (I'm biased). Cmon guys this just makes the game more grande. The group stage is gonna be a bigger party. Though bring some more ladies please.
     
  17. BocaFan

    BocaFan Member+

    Aug 18, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    If we use 2014 WC qualifying as an indicator, the additional countries could have included (making a lot of assumptions here, but what the heck...:p):

    AFC (+1.5): Uzbekistan, Jordan;
    OFC (+0.5): New Zealand;
    CONCACAF (+1.5): Panama;
    CAF (+2.0): Egypt, Burkino Faso
    UEFA (+1.0): Ukraine
    CONMBOL (+0.5): N/A (Uruguay already qualified since Brasil hosted 2014)

    Talk about dilution.... :(

    It won't necessarily be a bigger party. Depends on the new format. If they make the tournament longer, fewer people will be able to afford attending the host country for the entire group-stage, meaning effectively the dilution could extend from the playing field to the stands. :(
     
    Matilda Maniac repped this.
  18. goussoccer

    goussoccer Member+

    May 23, 2001
    Avon, CT
    Looking at the merits of a 40 team WC on its face --- you can always figure out a way to make this work as it will provide more money for the WC coffers. Whether it's good for the fans is another question.

    Alternatives seem to be:
    1. Some kind of a 'play-in' process. Take teams 25-40 and have them compete for the last 8 spots of the WC tournament.
      1. Pros: Keeps the actual WC final 'clean'
      2. Cons: When to hold the 'play-in' games vis-a-vis the club schedules and do it in a manner that allows the qualifying teams to not be at a logistical disadvantage to the top 24 teams (i.e. where to base their team, etc.)
    2. Do 8 groups of 5 at the WC (just pick the top 40 rather than the top 32) and take top 2 from each group.
      1. Pros: Everyone knows everything at the same time, and you get sixteen teams for the knockout stages
      2. Cons: You add three days to the Group Stage -- more injuries, more wear and tear
      3. Cons: There will be a team not playing out of each group the last day -- how do you arrange it so that (a) there is no collusion or (2) arrange the games so the team sitting out the last day doesn't have a 'role' to play in who goes through, while still allowing people (and teams) to make plans ahead of time for travel?
        • Someone needs to help me better understand this issue 2 --- the four teams playing the last day will either be competing for one spot or for two, why is collusion here any more likely than in the four team group scenario?
    3. Do 10 groups of 4 at the WC
      1. Pros: Everyone knows everything at the same time.
      2. Cons: Picking the final 16 will get really ugly.
        • Do you drop the 'weakest' four second place teams --- how is that determined?
        • Do you add a round for the 'weakest' eight second place teams to play each other?
        • Either of these scenarios means that the KO round draw will not be determined then until after the final game of the Group Stage - because you don't know who the 8 second place teams will be.
    To me the simplest is Number 2 -- but it will dilute the tournament a bit. NOTE -- the minnows of the Women's WC got walloped when the numbers were expanded, but it does bring some money and exposure to weaker countries, will that extra money help 'lift' the weaker countries over time to not be such minnows? That is a question I am not prepared to answer or take a side on.
     
  19. BocaFan

    BocaFan Member+

    Aug 18, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    #19 BocaFan, Dec 10, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
    This I think would be the only format where the fans don’t lose out big-time, since it wouldn’t really dilute the tournament proper. I think the “Con” you have listed above is pretty negligible too. It would only take four extra days to widdle down the field from 40 to 32 teams, so it wouldn’t need to interfere with club schedules.

    The only fans that would lose out are those from countries 25-32 that would have qualified normally (and get minimum 3 WC games to look forward to and buy tickets for), and now might see their country eliminated in 1 game after going through such a long qualifying process to get that far. Would also be a bit harsh on the players of those teams.

    Another issue: how do you rank those teams 25-40? You would need a very solid, fair ranking system (IOW, a total overhaul of the FIFA rankings)

    It would add at least a week to 9 days to the group-stage (two extra matchdays). IOW, the group-stage would be 67% longer. That's a huge "Con", imo.


    Another CON is that you will have group-winners facing each other in the R16. That would add an element of unfairness, especially since some group winners would face second-place teams who could be quite weak.

    Notice how the "Cons" lists are much longer than the "Pros" list. And the Pros aren't really Pros either, since they're all things we already have now. :(
     
  20. MNNumbers

    MNNumbers Member

    Jul 10, 2014
    #20 MNNumbers, Dec 10, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2015
    Concerning (2), the issue is not so much collusion (that was when the final match day's matches were played at different times, so the teams in the last game had more standings information available to them. That has been fixed for the last 2 cycles, I believe). The issue is rest. And, the way to fix it would be....

    Currently, the identification of teams and schedules for the Group Round is random, except that the Host nation is A-1. It would be unfair to continue that, because you could get a situation where Germany both got an easy group, and had the last matchday off. So, you would need to have your somewhat random draw (and don't get me started on the way they do that...to a math guy, yuck) and then rank all 5 teams within each group by FIFA rankings (again, yuck) and have the 5th seed resting on the last match day.

    And, yes, it adds actually 2 more rounds of matchdays to the schedule. So, you might see:
    Evening 1: First Match as ceremonious start
    Day 2: 5 matches (Completes first games for Groups A-C).
    Day 3, 4: 5 matches (Completes first games for all groups)
    All days after that: 4 matches per day.
    Thus, group phase requires 20 days.

    Agree with others on 10 groups of 4. It puts you in a bind in round 2.
     
  21. BocaFan

    BocaFan Member+

    Aug 18, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    It's both. Unless I'm missing something, I don't see how the collusion issue wouldn't be re-introduced with a 5-team group. Any time a team with still something to play for has their final match at a different time than others, you can have collusion.

    Fyi... the rugby world cup has 5-team groups. It seems that their draw is still done in a random fashion because the teams that got a bye on the final matchday of the group-stage this past WC were: Fiji, South Africa, Canada and Georgia. For those unfamiliar with rugby, this is very much a mix of good, average and bad teams so it seems no effort was made to ensure that the weakest teams got the bye on matchday 5.
     
  22. fero

    fero Member

    Oct 31, 2011
    Argentina
    Club:
    CA Boca Juniors
    Country:
    Argentina
    FIFA WC USA 2026, 40 teams. 8 group like allways.
    pot 1: USA/host and UEFA 1-7
    pot 2: Conmebol 1-4/5 and Concacaf 1-3/4
    pot 3: AFC 1-8
    pot 4: CAF 1-8
    pot 5: UEFA 8-14 and OFC 1

    (and there is the minuscule posibility of do this but in 2022, but shhhh)
     
  23. MNNumbers

    MNNumbers Member

    Jul 10, 2014

    You are right that collision and/or gamesmanship could be an issue IF the team that is not playing is in contention for advancement. That's why the groups would have to be seeded. Otherwise you risk something like this.....
    USA ... 4 gms played.... 9 pts
    Cameroon ... 3 gms.... 8 pts
    Belgium ... 3 gms... 8 pts

    With Cameroon playing Belgium.

    Again, it would have to be seeded.
     
  24. BocaFan

    BocaFan Member+

    Aug 18, 2003
    Brooklyn, NY
    Seeding would only (maybe) reduce the number of instances similar to the above scenario you present. It wouldn't eliminate them.

    Collusion is also probably too strong of a word. I don't know if outright collusion would happen very often. For instance, in your example above Cameroon and Belgium wouldn't even need to be playing each other on the final day for them to have an advantage. Just going into their final game knowing a draw is good enough is already an advantage the USA didn't have.
     
  25. goussoccer

    goussoccer Member+

    May 23, 2001
    Avon, CT
    Ok --- I get the longer timeframe than I estimated -- the three days was with the perspective of one group rather than 8 groups..makes sense.

    The collusion thing -- I get why it's a bit more interesting. I think MNNumbers -- your example is not compelling (and how would a team get 8 points after 3 games ;)) but your point is better made if the US, Cameroon and Belgium all have 6 points (with the US having played 4 games and the other two 3 games, with the US having a better tie breaker advantage than either team. That would definitely 'motivate' Cameroon and Belgium to play to a draw.

    If we go with groups of 8 groups of 5 and we need to seed each of the groups why don't we just seed the whole dang tournament from 1 to 40 and then seed the groups that way? Although that is an interesting question as to how you 'seed' the groups --do you go 1, 9, 17, 25, 33 for Group 1? Group 8 then would be 8, 16, 24, 32, 40. In that scenario the 24th seeded team has a better shot of going through than the 17th seeded team AND the 16th seeded team is a much heavier favorite to go through than the 17th seeded team. Theres got to be a different way of seeding the Groups -- or you just continue to do the 'random' draw.

    We can all agree that the current FIFA seeding is off -- it would have to be weighted much more heavily to recent matches that mattered. But it would make the groups more
     

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