FIFA are set to improve expansion plans for the 2026 World Cup, which is set to be staged in North America.
The United States, Canada and Mexico will co-host the tournament, the first to see the number of participating nations increase from 32 to 48 teams. Those plans had already been finalised, but new changes will see the number of matches rise by 40.
The initial proposals had been for 16 groups each featuring three nations, but revised plans will have 12 groups of four – increasing the number of games to 104. The top two teams will progress to the round of 32 alongside the eight best third-placed teams.
Sky are reporting that the plans are set to be finalised at a FIFA meeting in Rwanda, as the governing body looks to meet its target of £9bn in revenue and solve format issues created by a multi-host tournament.
The 2022 World Cup contained 64 matches as Argentina triumphed in the Middle East and initial plans for the 48-team competition in 2026 saw that total rise to 80 games. However, the new changes will increase the fixture-list to 104 games.
It will be the first time the World Cup has been hosted by three nations and it remains to be seen how the additional games are divided among the hosts. Under the original agreement, the USA was set to stage 60 of the 80 games, with Mexico and Canada hosting ten each.