SHOWS: DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (JANUARY 2, 2019) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FIFA PRESIDENT GIANNI INFANTINO SAYING: "So if you think it's a good thing to have 48 teams in the World Cup, and we'll have it for 2026, why shouldn't we try to have it already four years before?
It's never too late to do something good, right, and that's why we are analysing whether it's possible to have 48 teams already in 2022." 2.
WHITE FLASH 3.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FIFA PRESIDENT GIANNI INFANTINO SAYING: "It will be quite a challenge to say it, diplomatically correctly, have 48 teams only in Qatar, 32 is of course possible, that is what is going to happen but if we can increase it to 48 and make the world happy, then we should try it." 4.
WHITE FLASH 5.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) FIFA PRESIDENT GIANNI INFANTINO SAYING: "If we can maybe convince some of the neighbouring countries in the Gulf region which are very close by, to host maybe a few games of this World Cup, this could certainly be very beneficial for the region and for the entire world." STORY: FIFA should if possible increase the size of the soccer World Cup in Qatar in 2022 to 48 from 32 teams, the global governing body's president Gianni Infantino said on Wednesday (January 2).
Last month, Infantino said a majority of national soccer federations were in favour of expanding the tournament and a decision was expected ahead of the qualifying draw in March.
Infantino, speaking at a sports conference, also said FIFA was seeing whether it would be possible for some of Qatar's Gulf neighbours to host some of the matches.
He said last month that it would be "difficult" to stage an expanded tournament in Qatar alone.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt launched a diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar in June 2017 that has complicated the prospect of sharing the tournament.
The countries accuse Qatar of supporting terrorism, which it denies.
FIFA voted in 2017 to increase the size of the tournament from 32 to 48 teams starting from 2026 but, since then, Infantino has been mulling the possibility of bringing the change forward to 2022.
Qatar said it would not take a final decision on the tournament expansion until it has seen details of a feasibility study from FIFA.
Qatar, a tiny but wealthy Arab nation, has moved ahead with ambitious plan to scale up infrastructure ahead of the 2022 tournament that includes $6-8 billion on eight stadiums and sporting facilities.