World Cup could grow to 40 teams as Fifa unveils raft of reforms

The World Cup trophy
The World Cup could contain as many as 40 teams in 2026

Fifa has delayed a decision on whether to expand the World Cup to 40 teams, proposed as part of a package of reforms approved on Thursday.

The executive committee voted to get more women involved in decision-making, put term limits on senior officials, and publish their salaries.

Football's world governing body wants to be seen as "modern, trusted and professional" by December 2018.

But changing the World Cup format has been deferred pending a further study.

A proposed move to include 40 teams in the tournament from 2026 - up from the 32 that have taken part since 1998 - has been supported by Asia and African members.

However, a number of executive committee members, including England's David Gill, insisted the administration needed to provide a detailed report into the commercial and footballing implications before final approval is given.

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What did Fifa propose to change?

Since scandal engulfed Fifa in May, when seven of its officials were arrested, it has come under scrutiny, with sponsors pressing for a change in culture.

Thursday's meeting of the organisation's executive committee - which was preceded by the arrests of two Fifa vice-presidents - outlined measures it hopes will restore its integrity by December 2018.

The proposals must be ratified by 209 member associations in February.

A timetable has been set for implementing the changes, which include:

  • The executive committee will be replaced by a new council which will clearly separate political and management tasks.
  • Senior officials will now only be allowed to serve a maximum of 12 years.
  • There will be stringent integrity checks in place for individuals on standing committees
  • A minimum of six women - up from one at present - will be able to be elected to the Fifa council
  • The salaries of the Fifa president and senior officials will be made public.
Moya Dodd
Moya Dodd said more women on committees at Fifa will lead to better decisions

Analysis: BBC Radio 5 live's Richard Conway in Zurich

"Fifa's executive committee have concluded a two-day meeting looking at reforms. They are determined they have the right recipe to reform the governing body.

"They want to be a trusted body by 2018, that's their ambition. They now have to convince the member associations in February they have the right reforms in place to be just that."

Who said what?

David Gill, Fifa vice-president: "The overall package of reforms has been very well thought out and they are very much a step in the right direction."

Francois Carrard, chairman of the Fifa reform committee: "Under the Fifa statutes there is only one woman who can be elected which is out of time. "We propose each continent must have at least one woman in the future council so instead of one we shall have six women."

Moya Dodd, vice-president of the Asian Football Association, on more female committee members: "We've seen a deluge of support from people in football and beyond. From Billie Jean King to UN women. Why? Because it's 2015, it's fair, and diversity leads to better decisions."