International

Maradona backs 48-team World Cup

2017-01-09 17:10
Diego Maradona (Getty Images)

Zurich - Argentine football legend Diego Maradona on Monday backed controversial plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams, a day before world football's powerful governing council faces a key decision on the issue.

"It sounds like a fantastic idea to me," the 56-year-old told reporters at FIFA's Zurich headquarters.

"This will give more possibilities to countries that have never reached that level of competition," he added.

The hobbled Maradona spoke dripping with sweat after rumbling his way through a mini-tournament involving former football greats and current executives.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino has organised a series of so-called "Legends Tournaments" since taking charge of the body last year, playing alongside former football stars in front of assembled media.

Infantino has made expanding the World Cup the centrepiece of his young administration, but his plans have faced criticism, including from those who warn that it will dilute the quality of play at football's showcase event.

"The quality will not fall," Maradona said when asked about those concerns.

Infantino has been courting support from the game's most powerful figures ahead of the FIFA council meet.

The influential panel will review five proposals on Tuesday: leaving the World Cup unchanged at 32 teams, two proposals for a 40-team competition and two 48-team scenarios.

Infantino is said to be backing a 48-team option with 16 groups of three, which would come into effect for the 2026 competition.

Any decision made by the council will have to be approved by FIFA's full 211 members at the body's next congress.

Read more on:    fifa  |  swc  |  diego maradona  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

What To Read Next

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2017/18 PSL season is under way. Can Bidvest Wits defend their title? Will Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs or Orlando Pirates emerge victorious? Or will the bookies' favourites, Mamelodi Sundowns, taste success for a record eighth time? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs
Vote

Do you think SAFA made the right choice in appointing Stuart Baxter as head coach of Bafana Bafana?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.