— Published 24 August 2022

CONMEBOL hostile to change

Mondial 2026

FIFA and the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) are set to clash. The world body wants to reform the format of the 2026 men’s World Cup qualifiers, to be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada, with a 48-team final phase (as opposed to the current 32 teams). It envisages two groups of five teams in the South American zone, each of which would play two legs against the five teams in the other group, i.e. a minimum of 10 matches. The top two teams in each group would qualify directly for the 2026 World Cup. The third and fourth-placed teams would compete for another ticket. But the CONMEBOL Council voted unanimously earlier this week against this reform project. It does not want to change the format of the qualifiers, so that the 10 nations involved would meet in a two-legged format, each playing a total of 18 matches. Its decision will be forwarded to FIFA. For the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, South America has directly qualified the top four from a single pool, namely Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador and Uruguay. The fifth-placed team, Peru, lost in an intercontinental play-off against Australia.