Federation Internationale de Football Association gives Africa, Asia a surprise soccer World Cup new year gift

African teams have done well in the World Cup recently with Algeria reaching the last-16 in Brazil 2014 before narrowly losing in extra-time to eventual champions Germany, and Ghana making the last-16 in 2006 and the quarterfinals in 2010.

Also playing in their favour is the fact the World Cup hasn't visited the North and Central America region since the United States hosted the 1994 tournament, while the three countries in question already boast the required infrastructures.

The decision is likely to mean Asia doubling their guaranteed World Cup finals allocation from four to eight countries, with the ninth-placed qualifier facing a playoff. Russian deputy prime minister Vitaly Mutko is a FIFA Council member and attended Tuesday's meeting.

The World Cup expanded to 24 teams in 1982 in Spain before moving to its current 32-team version at France 1998.

Uniting the USA and Mexico could win support from more than 20 Spanish-speaking federations among 211 FIFA members that now choose the World Cup hosts.

"No guarantees have been made", Infantino said.

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Yet here we are half a year on and the very same commentators and fans that acclaimed the expanded European competition are now bemoaning the move to boost the FIFA World Cup from 32 to 48 nations.

Africa and Asia could be the big winners with a rise in their number of World Cup places - now five for Africa and between four and five for Asia. "In some regions, not only does co-hosting make more sense, it's the only sense, because it's not just the 48 teams, it's the training facilities, it's all the other infrastructure that's required".

Africa and Asia could be winners in a bigger World Cup with up to nine places each. Similarly, South America and Asia both see four teams qualifying for the World Cup, but there are 45 Asian countries vying for the berths compared with 10 South Americans ones.

The powerful European Club Association reiterated its strong opposition, describing the current World Cup model as "the flawless formula". "The only thing I know from afar about Trump is that he's a big sports guy and he's proven that in the past.so you would hope that football will trump politics".

Was the move one driven politically to shore up support for the new FIFA President by appeasing the non-European and South American nations much, as his maligned predecessor had so adroitly done?

Federation Internationale de Football Association projects an increased profit of $640 million despite some extra operating costs and prize money for teams.

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