FIFA President Gianni Infantino confirmed Wednesday in Santiago that the South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) will have 6.5 spots in the 2026 World Cup.
“The best football is played here in South America, and we hope that in 2018, a country from this continent wins the World Cup in Russia,” said Infantino to the 67th Conmebol Congress in the Chilean capital.
Along with confirming the spaces for South American teams, the leader of world football insisted the 2026 World Cup would have 48 teams, up from the 32 teams in 2022.
In terms of the regional meeting, Infantino addressed the series of corruption scandals that beheaded many of FIFA and Conmebol’s federations and highlighted that a new stage had begun.
“The new Conmebol is an organization that is working in a great way, and the improvements being seen in South American football are impressive,” he said.
He also addressed the current situation at FIFA. “The only thing that has changed about FIFA is that we are transparent. The financial situation is very solid, despite some believing the opposite. The budget cycle for four years is around 1.4 billion U.S. dollars, with 87 percent of this for football,” he remarked.
Infantino also said he recognized that “we are going through hard and very complicated moments…we must show that we are transparent and open above all.”