A LOT of people are expressing their disgust at Fifa for diluting the essence of the World Cup as it plans to expand the team from 32 to 48 in the 2026 edition. The World Cup, which only a handful of nations can aspire for, should remain as it is to keep its meaning and essence as a unique tournament compared to the others.
I know where they’re coming from but unlike them, I support Fifa’s move to expand the World Cup for different reasons all together. I agree, expanding from 32 to 48 may mean more countries getting the bragging rights of “we’ve been to the World Cup” even if it’s for a game but that’s not why I support the move.
Fifa never hid the fact why it wants to expand it to 48 teams, to earn more money and this brazen profit-chasing is what disgusts critics of the expansion. It’s also why I support the move. More money for Fifa means more money gets trickled down to poorly-funded countries like the Philippines.
More money for Fifa means more money for football in Cebu, Davao, Iloilo or the other provinces in the country that needs them.
More money for Fifa means more money for us. Because unlike the administration of Sepp Blatter, where earnings tend to end up in people’s pockets, the stigma of that scandal has forced Fifa officials to be more transparent.
And, heck may be the got too transparent by advertising it outright that they’re hoping to earn a billion dollars more from the expanded scheme, but still, there’s transparency.
Let Fifa expand the World Cup, because I know, even if it expands the pool to 64, we still won’t be in the running for it. We’re a few generations from getting there; just consider how our football manic neighbors never even got to the World Cup. The country will benefit from the expansion.
By the way, if critics are up in arms against the World Cup expansion, imagine what their reaction would be when they learn what Marvo Van Basten, Fifa’s director general for technical development, wants changed in the game.
Basten wants the off side rule scrapped, the penalty shootout changed to a one-on-one challenge, and a basketball-style foul system that limits the number of fouls a player can commit.
Major League Soccer adopted a one-on-one challenge in lieu of a shootout when it started, but that the league scrapped it in favor of the traditional shootout means something. That and the scrapping of the offside rule might face the stiffest opposition from fans and other stakeholders in football.
Other changes Van Basten wants might gain support, particularly one on the increasing of substitutes and in looking for ways to avoid game-delaying tactics in the final 10 minutes.
Van Basten said, “We are very aware of the problem of time. The viewers want to see action and goals. The longer a substitution, the execution of a free kick or the treatment of an injured player, the more playing time is lost. We must be careful about this.”
Times are interesting in the beautiful game with all these changes.