NFF President Pinnick Speaks On 48-Team World Cup Proposal
Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) President, Amaju Pinnick, has said it would be a surprise if the plan to expand the World Cup to 48 teams is not approved.
FIFA president, Gianni Infantino's plan, which would come into effect in 2026, is set to be approved at a meeting of the FIFA Council in Zurich on Tuesday.
The Delegates will vote on four proposals to change the existing format of world football's premier event with Infantino's suggestion certain to be given official approval, as there is much excitement around the proposal.
Pinnick said, according to The Guardian:
So far everybody's excited about it.
I wouldn't say there's 100 percent support but all my colleagues I've spoken to -- all my colleagues -- are excited about it. I'm not going to say 100 percent because I haven't spoken to everybody, but certainly most of Africa is excited about it.
Internal research conducted by the football governing body has suggested a 48-team World Cup could bring in £800 million more in broadcasting, commercial and match-day revenue.
The proposal is to have 16 groups of three, followed by a 32-team knockout, which will increase the number of games from 64 to 80 but ensures the tournament remains at 32 days.
Infantino has further suggested that penalty shootouts be brought in to settle the results of all drawn games, thereby minimising the risk of teams colluding in their final games to eliminate others from the tournament.
Infantino has repeatedly said his main motivation for expansion is to give more nations a chance of experiencing the joy of a World Cup, which will bolster international football in developed markets and help its growth in new ones.
Pinnick dismissed concerns there would be "too much football," saying:
Why worry about it? We're just excited about it.
You should understand, the president of FIFA, whatever he does, he does a lot of consultation and research. And of course he knows it's not going to be boring. It's going to be very good.
There's going to be more teams and more football. The more the merrier, and I believe he will get it right. If it isn't agreed it would be a big surprise because most nations are supporting it.
By far the most contentious topic will be how the 16 extra slots are allocated among the six confederations, with the African and Asian nations expecting significant increases on their current four apiece.
The other major decision regarding 2026 -- who will host the event -- is not scheduled for consideration until 2020, with a bid featuring the United States, either on its own or in conjunction with one or both of Canada and Mexico.