by Scott McMahon
Shortly after FIFA announced plans to increase the size of the tournament from 32 teams to 48 in 2026, the beautiful game’s international governing body released a second headliner: 2050’s World Cup will host 169 countries.
When questioned regarding FIFA’s reasoning behind the decision, president Gianni Infantino was confident in the move, citing the desire for inclusion of traditionally underrepresented nations as a key factor.
“We at FIFA wanted to continue our spotless and pristine track record by embracing the need for diversity, especially in the modern age,” Infantino explains. “Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands just aren’t receiving the global football attention that they deserve. FIFA is here to change that. The move is definitely not motivated by money or increased ticket sales in any way, whatsoever.”
Smaller countries are among those who are most excited by FIFA’s recent announcement, sources tell The Second String.
“This is big news for the Marshall Islands. It’s a big step forward for us,” says Hilde Heine, President of the Marshall Islands. “All five of our football players are very excited.”
The news took many in the soccer industry by surprise, including Inter Miami owner, analyst and English legend David Beckham.
“I understood the initial step up to 48, but this many may be a little out of hand—seems a bit dodgy to me,” says the former Manchester United and L.A. Galaxy forward. “It will make for a longer tournament, that’s for bloody sure. You’d have to be a wanker not to be excited.”
Logistics and details of the tournament are yet to be unveiled. This is a big step forward for FIFA, as now the vast majority of the 195 UN-recognized nations will be represented. Some nations will feature never-before-seen squads—His Holiness Pope Francis will captain the Vatican City National Team, sources tell The Second String.
The tournament will kick off on April 1, 2050 in Wyoming, USA. It was reported to be the only area with enough empty space to construct the 20 new full-size arenas required.