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La Liga is reportedly planning to launch legal action against FIFA after Tuesday’s announcement that the World Cup will increase from 32 teams to 48 from 2026.
According to Sky Sports’ Kaveh Solhekol, the Spanish league wants to stop the expansion, and it claims it was not consulted on the decision as required by FIFA. A source said: “We are not happy at all. We are providing extra players but we have not been consulted. We are looking at ways in which we can challenge today’s decision.”
The new format will increase the number of sides in the tournament by 50 per cent—split into 16 groups of three—although the number of matches played by the eventual winner will remain at seven.
Per the world governing body, the FIFA Council voted unanimously in favour of the increased tournament, an idea that has been heavily pushed by president Gianni Infantino:
FIFA Council unanimously decides on expansion of the FIFA World Cup to a 48-team competition as of 2026. https://t.co/zPRIt5lU0w
— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) January 10, 2017
The Italian has explained the reasoning behind the decision, saying it will make the tournament “more inclusive,” per BBC Sport.
However, many have speculated that the move is more likely financially motivated, with revenues set to increase by almost $1 billion (around £870 million) as a result of the expansion, per David Conn in the Guardian.
There have been other accusations launched at FIFA over the decision that it will dilute the quality of the tournament, per football writer John Davidson:
World Cup expansion is a pure money grab that will dilute the quality of the tournament. Dodgy FIFA wins again
— John Davidson (@johnnyddavidson) January 10, 2017
La Liga’s gripe is clearly that even more players in their division will be involved in a gruelling summer tournament, potentially adversely affecting the quality of club football in the regular season.