Asian football chief applauds World Cup allocation increase

Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa
Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa. — AFP/File

PARIS: Asian football chief Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa on Friday hailed the continent’s proposed allocation for the expanded 48-team 2026 World Cup.

FIFA recommendations released on Thursday revealed that Asia will see its allocation doubled from a guaranteed four spots to eight.

Asian Football Confederation president Shaikh Salman said the allocation was “a fair distribution”.

All regions will see an increase in their allocation for the 2026 finals while there will also be a six team play-off to decide the final two spots, meaning the possibility of Asia getting a ninth team qualified.

In a statement on the AFC website, Shaikh Salman said the increased allocation would “aid development of the game in Asia”.

According to the FIFA recommendations Europe will get 16 places, up from 13, Africa’s allocation will increase from five to nine, South America’s up from four or five to six, North and Central America’s up to six from three or four and Oceania guaranteed one berth instead of merely a play-off match.

The recommendations should be approved at the FIFA Council meeting in Bahrain in May.