Globe Cup 2026 format expands once more with 4-group groups and 104 matches
FIFA is set to confirm a new format for the 2026 Globe Cup, extending the tournament to 104 games more than probably 39 days.
The choice will be authorized at a meeting of the FIFA Council later on Tuesday in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, exactly where planet football’s bosses have gathered for their annual congress on Thursday.
Hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States, the 2026 edition was currently going to be the largest Globe Cup, with 48 teams, and will now be the longest, also.
The original thought was to have 16 groups of 3, with the top rated two processing to a 32-group knockout competitors. That format would have involved 80 games, up from the 64-game format FIFA has utilized considering that 1998.
But groups of 3 have two important drawbacks: you drop the excitement of the final round of simultaneous group-stage games, and you raise the possibility of the two teams in the final game colluding to engineer the outcome they need to have.
The most memorable instance of the latter, the so-known as “Disgrace of Gijon”, took location at the 1982 Globe Cup in Spain, when West Germany and Austria efficiently agreed on a 1- win for the Germans, as that was fantastic sufficient for each to advance at Algeria’s expense.
Memories of this and other equivalent scandals had clearly faded at FIFA, even though, as it authorized the 16×3 format when it agreed to expand the Globe Cup in 2017.
Immediately after Qatar, the troubles that could influence the 2026 Globe Cup
The wisdom of that choice was known as into query by some academics but it was not till the final Globe Cup in Qatar that the calls to reconsider the format grew also loud to ignore, with FIFA president Gianni Infantino confirming the rethink on the eve of the final.
The new format is for 12 groups of 4, with the eight ideal third-placed teams joining the top rated two in the knockout rounds. This restores the jeopardy of the final round of group-stage games and reduces the possibility of collusion.
The added week will be located by cutting the pre-tournament release period by a week from 23 days — slightly much less than earlier summer time tournaments but twice as lengthy as players had been provided to prepare for the Globe Cup in Qatar. Despite the fact that the official date for the opening match has not but been announced, FIFA is on course to retain the tournament’s “footprint” to 57 days, with 39 days of competitors.
What this adjust implies for the allocation of games amongst the 3 host nations remains to be observed, as the US was staging 60 games in the original format, with Canada and Mexico acquiring ten each and every.
FIFA could seek yet another host city or stadium but that would have economic implications. CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani mentioned on Tuesday when asked about expanded venues: “I feel you very first attempt to place the footprint (of games) on what you have.” Montagliani mentioned it was achievable that the tournament could function six group-stages games on a single day.”
Maheta Molango, the CEO of the Specialist Football Association, raised issues about the improved quantity of games players will be forced to play as a outcome of the new Globe Cup format.
He mentioned: “Fundamentally, the football calendar desires a full reset.
“The expanded Globe Cup format getting announced for 2026 implies that, but once more, additional games are getting forced into an currently overcrowded schedule.
“It is appropriate that FIFA have listened to players’ issues and announced a operating group to address the important troubles surrounding fixture congestion and player welfare.
“It is also encouraging to see that crucial issues raised with FIFA by the PFA, such as the need to have for a minimum of 72 hours amongst games, a mandatory day off each and every week, and an annual rest period, are getting prioritised.
“We know that the existing workload players face is getting an ongoing effect on their effectively-getting, each on and off the pitch. We cannot basically push them till they break.”
FIFA contemplate introducing group-stage penalty shootouts
(Photo: Getty Pictures)