However, the recommendation will be further submitted for the ratification of the FIFA Council, whose next meeting is scheduled for 9 May in Manama, Bahrain, two days before the 67th FIFA Congress meet.On 10 January, the FIFA Council unanimously decided on expanding the FIFA World Cup to a 48-team tournament. FIFA, the confederations, and the Member Associations organized a consultation process, which resulted in the proposal recommended by the Bureau of the Council.

As per this proposal, the split of direct berths is divided as follows:

Slot allocation

  • AFC (Asian Football Confederation) : 8 direct slots
  • CAF (Confederation of African Football): 9 direct slots
  • CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football): 6 direct slots
  • CONMEBOL (South American Football Confederation): 6 direct slots
  • OFC (Oceania Football Confederation): 1 direct slot
  • UEFA (Union of European Football Associations): 16 direct slots

Also, the host country would also automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup (as similar to Russia for the 2018 edition), and its slot would be deducted from the quota of its confederation. However, regarding the event of co-hosting, the number of host countries to qualify automatically would be decided by the FIFA Council only.

Play-off tournament for two remaining slots
The above-mentioned allocation accounts for 46 of the 48 participating teams. The proposal reviewed by the Bureau of the Council includes a play-off tournament consisting six teams to decide the last two FIFA World Cup berths:

  • One team per confederation except for UEFA + one additional team from the Confederation of the host country.
  • Two teams will be seeded based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The seeded teams will play for a FIFA World Cup berth against the winners of the first two knockout games involving the other four unseeded teams.
  • Tournament to be played in the host country or countries and to be used as a test event for the FIFA World Cup.
  • Existing play-off window of November 2025 is suggested as the tentative date for the 2026 edition.