1/11/17

Fifa is expanding the World Cup to 48 teams in a move it believes could secure $1bn more in revenues, as Gianni Infantino, the new president of world football's governing body, stamps his mark on the scandal-hit organisation.

Opinions?

">ft.com/content/e8af44a4-58de-3da4-b433-7a2da3f00f09">[FT Article]

Comments (20)

1/10/17

I'm not a huge fan. I think it'll dilute the competition level in the earlier rounds (competitive teams will be more concerned with making sure their players are not getting hurt for future games) and 48 teams takes away from the excitement and drama of qualifying for the world cup. Plus the idea of two teams advancing out of a group of 3 is pretty ridiculous.

Financial Modeling

1/10/17

Agreed - money driven decision, can't make it anymore obvious.

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1/10/17

Yeah, you're absolutely right. It'll allow a few more teams into the competition from Africa, Asia and North America, Central America and Caribbean who have traditionally been underrepresented given the amount of countries there - each send around 10% whereas Europe and South America send 25%+. Countries like Germany don't like it, but I can see why a country on the fringe of qualifying in Europe, Africa, Asia, etc. would. I'm sure I won't mind in 10 years when there will be extra games on TV. Maybe we'll see a 20-0 game between Germany and Vanuatu one day.

1/10/17
808s and Heartbreak:

Maybe we'll see a 20-0 game between Germany and Vanuatu one day.

...yeah, didn't even think that far...

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1/10/17

my office is pretty cool when major sporting events occur, so i am in favor of anything that prolongs these types of events.

Not sure it have much of an impact as to eventual victor though. Teams 33-48 will probably never be the dark-horse to make a run at the cup

1/10/17

True that and for some reason with that many teams, maybe there will be more cinderella stories (Iceland in Euros).

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1/10/17

There were already enough poor quality game as it was last time out..

1/10/17

first rounds tend to be like that ja

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1/10/17

Stupid thing, IMO, good move to ruin a competition that had a pretty good format. They will have a first phase with three teams in each group (two of those will pass), and then single matches. In theory this would bring more emotion to the game but we will end up having even more boring games like, Iran vs Andorra or something like that.

As for increasing revenue, well, it's a bet.They will probably have to spread the competition between multiple countries (allowing for more marketing and transmission rights deals) or focusing in places like the Middle East, China or Russia (all with a lot of cash and not strange to corruption - FIFA was hit hard by the corruption scandals, but it was not "purged") so the risk for more scandals is still there.

1/10/17

I think the article quoted something like $1bn more in revenues, which if it holds true would clearly justify everything for FIFA from a business standpoint. I don't know how many people would indeed watch Iran vs Andorra, tbh (besides locals obviously). Sports betting is probably all over this, though.

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1/11/17
dornelbr:

Stupid thing, IMO, good move to ruin a competition that had a pretty good format. They will have a first phase with three teams in each group (two of those will pass), and then single matches. In theory this would bring more emotion to the game but we will end up having even more boring games like, Iran vs Andorra or something like that.

As for increasing revenue, well, it's a bet.They will probably have to spread the competition between multiple countries (allowing for more marketing and transmission rights deals) or focusing in places like the Middle East, China or Russia (all with a lot of cash and not strange to corruption - FIFA was hit hard by the corruption scandals, but it was not "purged") so the risk for more scandals is still there.

Well, we did get Iran Vs. Argentina and Bosnia Vs. Argentina last time which were pretty good games.
I think its really dumb honestly. The competition can have more teams but its going to come down to the same as always--Brazil, Argentina, Germany, and Spain/France (if they don't pick terrible teams)
Of course on the flip side it might bring some more interesting players into the mainstream--Iran was pretty good in 14, as was Bosnia.

1/10/17

I think it is stupid. That being said, if it helps the US qualify....

...

1/10/17

Does this move really hurt competition, though? Sure, we have more teams now, but the teams that make it past the group stage will be the same ones as those from every other World Cup. Sure, top teams like Germany, Argentina, or France will rest their top players in the group stages, but that gives those reservists some experience, plus, you will still see the top players play in the knockout round.

To me, all this does is push the really good games until later on in the tournament. I would like to see some new teams get a shot. If you're rooting for a top team, don't worry, your team is still making it to wherever it would have made it anyway, except now, your reservists will have gotten in some play (a positive).

Just my two cents.

EDIT: I think the real thing that needs to be looked at is who gets to host these tournaments. I think it's much more embarrassing when the host has no chance of winning (South Africa, Russia, Qatar) than if some team like Fiji loses 30-0 to Brazil.

1/11/17

I don't want to see the reservists gaining experience. No one will watch it anyway.

Best Response
1/11/17

I agree with you on the location of the tournaments. Letting countries that have zero infrastructure/can't afford the competition financially/are unstable host such a major event is laughable at best and dangerous at worst, just look at brazil: a country that hosted the World Cup and Olympic Games back to back ( which in and of itself is pretty ridiculous) while being too poor to afford the proper facilities/that has bigger problems they should be spending billions on and where people have literally been decapitated (referee a couple years ago) on the soccer field.

On the number of teams in the World Cup I do disagree. I grew up in Europe so I follow Soccer (football) pretty closely and I can comfortably tell you that most people are fed up with how watered down these competitions have become. From the club side of things a strong, top 3 club team in any one of the top 5 leagues will probably play around 60 games a year between domestic league and cup and european cups. Due to this people lose interest and players get injured which in turn, diminishes the spectacle.

Let's take the Champions League (CL) as an example. Right now the top three leagues in Europe are currently allowed to enter four teams into the Champions League and then there's another 20 spots left for smaller countries and team to compete for for a total of 32 teams in the group stage. Bear with me now but I thought it was called the "Champions League" so where are we finding 32 champions? The answer is we aren't. We just took the CL and made it into the Uefa Cup/Europa League (which for those who don't know, is basically the CL for runner ups) while also keeping the latter. So now we've muddied the distinction between the two and we just made the whole thing longer. In my humble opinion the CL should be the top 1-2 teams (aka the CHAMPIONS) from the 5 major leagues and the 3rd place finisher (in the domestic league) in say, Italy, plays the 3rd place finisher in England and the winner gets into the CL. Once we've done that we end up with around 12 teams and now we can allocate like 8 spots from smaller leagues or teams that actually can somewhat hold their own with your Real Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus, Bayern etc! They recently changed it to give "historically good" leagues 4 guaranteed spots which is the classic half-ass of a compromise so now not only do we keep the number of teams high but we also screw over the little guys.

On the World Cup.....man where do you even start. FIFA is a joke and the new Chairman makes me reconsider my views on Sep Blatter and makes Roger Goodell look like a friggin' genius. 48 teams in the World Cup?! seriously? For starters lets's consider this: the qualifiers for the damn thing start up to 2 years before hand. So, now we have club players who play 60-70 club games a year also play in these god awful qualifying games for their national side. You look at the game in TV and 3/4s of the stadium is empty and frankly with this many games nobody cares. And before someone replies "well they're paid millions to play a damn 90 minute game who cares if they play a couple more?" I will say this: Soccer might not be the most physical of sports but i do think people tend to underestimate how much physical strain comes from one game. In soccer you don't have the clock stopping, you don't rotate offense and defense, you don't just play in the summer or the fall, your rosters are smaller, you don't play indoor, you don't have padding. There is only so much you can ask players to do. Now we get to a competiton that happens only once in 4 years and that should represent the best of the best and the greatest celebration of soccer in the world and we learn that Ronaldo got injured in one of those meaningless qualifiers or that France is sitting half the team in the group stages because with 48 teams they're probably going to play Burkina Faso and the Cook Islands. What is the point of this? I realise that every one deserves a shot but do we really need to include everyone? at the end of the day the end result as @Sil said above, doesn't change so why do we need to include this sort of "diversity requirement" just so we can let San Marino get demolished by Germany 11-0 again? who gains from this? We already have the Euro Cup, Copa America etc which is where the smaller teams can play and try to compete with the big teams (unsurprisingly this works better in europe) and already those have started to become boring and lob sided, do we really need a giant competiton with even more bad teams? This is why no one cares about the Olympics anymore, there's simply too much to follow and the same will happen to the World Cup.

I might be wrong but to my mind its the FIFA execs who gain and it just goes to show how broken FIFA is and that nowadays we have gotten to the point where money gets you everything and everyone needs to be allowed to pitch in otherwise its unfair. Grow up people. While supporters from smaller countries are initially going to be excited about being included, thats going to wear out real quick if every time they make the cup they just get put six feet under by their opponents. One more thing; let's be real here the main motivation here is to let China in and I really dont have any problem with that. They're the most populated country in the world and looking to grow their soccer brand but for the love of Christ do we literally need to include 16 more teams just so you can cover that up FIFA? IDK guys, this is my 2 cents so feel free to to throw all your ms my way or rebuke me on any of my points.

TL;DR Quality over quantity, people from the Europe, South America and North/Central America won't pay to watch Argentina-Faroe Islands and we'll just end up turning the World Cup into the Olympics.

1/11/17

Fair point, +SB

1/11/17

Could not have been worded in better fashion. +SB

Former fake Frank Quattrone
youtube.com/watch?v=ytJ9xMqc6uI

1/11/17

Teams are more likely to sustain injuries if they play more games..... Also it doesn't really help the players after they come back from WC as the new season starts.

1/11/17

Milking the money-making cash cow, nice and simple.
It was laughable when countries like Russia and Qatar get to host the World Cup, even more laughable when you have this nexus of FIFA insiders willing to go through all lengths to boost their already sky-high revenues.
Not to mention the domination of the tournament by a select bunch of European and LatAm teams. Forget Vanuatu or Seychelles, even China or Croatia has no fair chance of reaching the quarters. To prove my point, check out how the teams are usually grouped.

Former fake Frank Quattrone
youtube.com/watch?v=ytJ9xMqc6uI

1/11/17

I would... but the truth is I can't sell my soul to myself...

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