The Bureau of the FIFA Council – comprised of the FIFA President and the presidents of each of the six confederations – convened this Thursday at the Home of FIFA in Zurich and agreed on a proposed slot allocation for the FIFA World Cup™ as of the 2026 edition.
The recommendation will now be submitted for the ratification of the FIFA Council, whose next meeting is scheduled for 9 May in Manama, Bahrain, two days prior to the 67th FIFA Congress.
After 10 January, when the FIFA Council unanimously decided on expanding the FIFA World Cup to a 48-team competition, FIFA, the confederations and the member associations engaged in a consultation process, which resulted in the proposal recommended by the Bureau of the Council. According to this proposal, the split of direct berths is as follows:
· AFC: 8 direct slots
· CAF: 9 direct slots
· CONCACAF: 6 direct slots
· CONMEBOL: 6 direct slots
· OFC: 1 direct slot
· UEFA: 16 direct slots
* The host country would also automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup, and its slot would be taken from the quota of its confederation. In the event of co-hosting, the number of host countries to qualify automatically would be decided by the FIFA Council.
Play-off tournament for two remaining slots
The above allocation accounts for 46 of the 48 participating teams. The proposal reviewed by the Bureau of the Council includes a play-off tournament involving six teams to decide the last two FIFA World Cup berths:
– One team per confederation with the exception of UEFA + one additional team from the confederation of the host country;
– Two teams to 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 four unseeded teams;
– Tournament to be played in the host country(ies) and to be used as a test event for the FIFA World Cup;
– Existing play-off window of November 2025 suggested as tentative date for the 2026 edition.