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Football fans shouldn’t sweat a 48-team World Cup

SportsFootballFootball fans shouldn't sweat a 48-team World Cup

There are plenty of reasons to be angry and anxious when it comes to football.

Manchester City Alleged false accounting to cover up Financial Fair Play breaches, barcelonaleague leaders Laliga, He paid the vice-president of the Spanish referees’ committee half a million dollars a year between 2016 and 2018 after facing corruption charges, juventus, who have already docked 15 points this seasonBoth face a sports investigation and a criminal investigation for false accounting and misleading shareholders, Franceleader of the league Paris Saint Germain run by a man who is also the president of the European Club Association, a UEFA executive committee member and – wearing his second hat as chairman of BeIN Sports – one of sport’s biggest bankrollers, and He has been implicated in an investigation of “kidnapping and torture”.

So yes, these are tough times for sports. And all of the above are worth worrying about because unless there is a transparent verdict everyone understands – in some form or another – we will not have closure, we will only have more accusations and longer disbelief.

, Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)

Here’s What You Shouldn’t Worry About: A 48-Team world Cup In 2026. Not yet that FIFA has come up with a proper format anyway.

FIFA Council approves 48-team format On Wednesday: Four groups of 12, with the eight best third-place teams advancing to a new round of 32. Biblical hair gnawing and teeth pulling.

The quality of the World Cup will be weak! Will someone please not think about the welfare of the players! The number of matches is increasing by 60%! It’s all about money and greed!

I think this is a fair collection of counterarguments. If there are other valid reasons No To get to the 48 teams, I’m all ears: Hit me up on Twitter.

In the meantime, consider the most cited arguments, starting with the dilution of quality. Sure, if you have 48 participants instead of 32, the “quality” will drop because, presumably, the extra 16 teams won’t be as good as the original 32.

But so what? Lower-division teams compete in cup competitions all over the world. Does Wrexham’s presence ruin your enjoyment of the FA Cup? More broadly, the World Cup is not about showcasing the most qualitative teams in the game because, well, the best teams are club teams. Why? Because they have the money and ability to recruit the best players and coaches, regardless of source, they play and train together throughout the year.

So yeah, if you’re sniffing about “quality”, international football isn’t for you – and neither is low-grade football and basically every single sport apart from the Champions League knockout stages, the Big Six struggling Premier LeagueThe classico And some other choices match. Apologize

In fact, the World Cup has not been about quality for a long time. It’s the biggest sporting event and it’s about participation, the whole country stopping by to watch the game, finding a kinship with your neighbor or co-worker who bores the crap out of you in real life but, for 90 minutes, When your team is playing, member becomes your circle and a person you want to hug if your country scores.

This is a showcase of football around the world. And while places in the competition have traditionally been dominated by countries in Europe and South America (in the name of “quality”), it’s only right that the rest of the planet gets a shot, too. FIFA has 211 member confederations, allowing 48 of them to participate in the World Cup means 22.7% to participate. For most of the contest’s history, the proportion of participating nations has remained roughly the same. When it went from 16 to 24 countries in 1986, it was 19.7%. And when it went from 24 to 32 in 1998, it was 18.3%. I can live with that, if it means most fans around the world get to be a part of the World Cup more than once or twice in their lifetime.

And while we’re at it, a nice byproduct of the 48-team World Cup is more meaningful group play. There is little chance that even if one loses his first two matches, he will be out. And while it’s true that it’s much more likely that you’ll qualify with two wins in your first two games (and therefore want to rest your starters in the final group game), if the organizers are smart, they’ll The plumes would provide incentives for the group to win, such as ensuring that group winners would not have to travel significantly (or at all) in later rounds. it was not an issue Queue Assuming all 2022 Games are originally in Doha, but with a far greater footprint when the tournament comes to the US in 2026, Mexico And Canada – and the subsequent 48-team World Cup – not traveling could be a gamechanger.

By the logic of player welfare, of course, playing 62.5% more matches sounds cruel, doesn’t it? But really, we’re talking four teams playing one extra game (and for two of those teams, it’s a third-place playoff that no one but immediate family members will ever remember .quick!who finished third Russia 2018? Look?). Under the previous format, 24 of the 32 teams played four or fewer matches. Under this format, 32 of the 48 will play four or fewer matches.

Player welfare is not to be taken lightly, I agree. but a summer tournament preceded by no matches for at least three weeks, followed by no matches after the tournament for at least three weeks (longer for teams that are eliminated before the semi-finals) , which is the vast majority) is hardly a problem. The tournament is expected to run for 39 days. At most, if your group is one of those that starts later and you reach the semi-finals, you will have played eight games over 33 days, which is already routine for many players during the club season. , except that they don’t get a month off. Before and after.

Which brings us to the greed and money argument. No one is going to dispute that a 48-team World Cup will generate more cash by virtue of playing more games. Yes, FIFA likes to make money. So did Apple, Google and Tinder. The difference is that much of FIFA’s revenue is redistributed to member associations, more than half of whom would not exist without the annual inflows from FIFA. That’s why they voted for a 48-team World Cup: it brings in more money and allows them to, you know, actually run a federation, tournament, youth and women’s football.

God forbid poor countries around the world should support a World Cup format that allows them to actually play a game with dignity.

Sure, critics will point to the many FIFA scandals of the past and talk about how this is patronage and pork barrel politics and that it gives Infantino or whoever happens to be in the big chair at the time, to poor countries. Runs out of power to barter FIFA funds for votes. , And yes, we all know about the bribery and corruption that happened in the Sepp Blatter era. (We were reminded of this only this week, when A former Fox executive has been convicted by a New York court of paying multimillion-dollar bribes to win rights to broadcast the World Cup.,

But it’s like welfare payments or financial aid for college tuition. If there are people who cheat welfare or a government financial aid program, do you just shut it down for everyone? Or do you make it harder to cheat the government with a more transparent system and more vigilance?

I kind of get the feeling that at the heart of the complaints about the 48-team World Cup is some kind of basic conservatism and pink-tinged nostalgia for what the game was like when we first fell in love with it. When – most of us anyway – were younger, fitter and had less to worry about. But the world changes and with it football.

So, please reserve your worry and justified anger for other football related matters. A 48-team World Cup would be fine. you’ll love it. Trust Me.

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