FIFA president Gianni Infantino was dealt a blow on Wednesday when world football's governing body shelved a proposed expansion of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar to 48 teams.
FIFA dumped the plans following a thorough and comprehensive consultation process which led to the conclusion that under the current circumstances such a proposal could not be made now.
”(The tournament) will therefore remain as originally planned with 32 teams and no proposal will be submitted at the next FIFA Congress on 5 June, FIFA said in a statement.
The expansion was a pet project of Infantino, who pushed the idea despite the likely need for Qatar's neighbors to put aside a two-year blockade and help host the tournament.
The involvement of these countries in the organization of the tournament jointly with Qatar implies the lifting of this blockade, in particular the lifting of restrictions on the movement of people and goods, said a feasibility study submitted to March's FIFA Congress in Miami.
The study also claimed that a Qatar World Cup with 48 teams would generate between US$ 300-US$ 400 million of additional income”.
Specifically FIFA was counting on an additional US$ 120 million in TV rights, US$ 150 million in marketing rights and US$ 90 million from ticket sales.
The news comes after Europe's top football clubs said in March they would boycott an expanded 24-team Club World Cup - also backed by Infantino - which is planned to take place between June 17 and July 4 2021, replacing the Confederations Cup international tournament.