The plan to expand the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams is being scrutinised. FIFA has announced it would examine human rights in countries that have expressed an interest to host the 2022 World Cup alongside Qatar.

Currently, Qatar is the sole organiser of the 2022 World Cup and plans to host 32 teams. Kuwait has expressed an interest in co-hosting the tournament and allowing it to expand to 48 teams. Other neighbouring countries Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Qatar since June 2017, which has added complexity to the equation. FIFA has ruled that these countries would have to end the blockade in order to co-host the 2022 World Cup.

According to Al Jazeera, FIFA’s Secretary General Fatma Samoura wrote to Amnesty International and other human rights organisations that the decision to expand the tournament to a nearby country would “include an assessment of human rights risks and potential opportunities associated with a possible expansion”.

A feasibility study has determined that expanding the tournament from 32 to 48 teams would require the construction of two additional stadiums in at least one Gulf country.


Omar Hajjar is a journalist based in the UK. An investigative reporter, he has lived in 3 different countries in the Middle East over the past 10 years.

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