The South American Football Confederation has implored FIFA to increase the number of nations competing at the 2022 World Cup from 32 to 48.
CONMEBOL, which says it has the backing of its 10 member associations, wants more South American nations to be represented in Qatar, although FIFA is already planning to expand its finals in 2026.
A tweet from the confederation’s official account read: “CONMEBOL, through its president Alejandro Dominguez and with the support of its 10 member associations, has formally requested that FIFA president Gianni Infantino implement, from the 2022 World Cup onwards, an increase from 32 participating teams to 48.”
In the current system, four South American nations can win automatic qualification for each World Cup, with the fifth-placed country entering an inter-confederation play-off.
Last year Argentina, the runners-up to Germany in Brazil in 2014, struggled to qualify, squeezing into an automatic place, leaving Peru to negotiate a two-legged battle with New Zealand, which they won.
Dominguez, speaking at the confederation’s congress in Buenos Aires, said, according to further tweets: “You all know that our qualifying system is the fairest, but it is also the most thankless.
“I have no doubt that if there is a confederation that has the capacity to properly rank all of its nations, that is CONMEBOL.
“As we want to do ourselves justice, I want to deliver a letter of application signed by 10 countries of CONMEBOL, so that the 2022 World Cup can be contested by 48 teams.”
Dominguez also backed the prospect of a South America-hosted World Cup in 2030, given those finals will take place 100 years after the inaugural tournament in Uruguay in 1930.
“We are asking the World Cup to return home for its 100th birthday,” he added.
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