The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said that the FIFA Council’s decision to raise the number of teams participating in World Cup Finals in 2016 will create a positive impact on Asian football, with the extended representation of countries in the continent leading to greater engagement with fans, the media and commercial partners.

Shaikh Salman attended the FIFA council meeting on Tuesday, which decided to raise the number of participating teams in the FIFA World Cup to 48 starting from the 2026 edition.

Shaikh Salman pointed out that the AFC supports progressive plans to better serve world football at all levels, adding further that raising the number of teams in the World Cup will now open the door for many aspiring teams to reach the pinnacle of the world game for the first time.

The AFC President said: “We believe that Asia, as the biggest continent deserves more slots compared with the current quota, looking at the economic power it has, and the popularity for the game in Asia, in addition to the huge development for football at all levels.”

Shaikh Salman also stressed that raising the number of teams in the finals will place greater responsibility on all Member Associations (MA) to strengthen their plans to further develop their national teams in a strategic way, as they aim to reach the finals.

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