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Oceania to have spot in 48-team World Cup

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/03/2017 Brian Homewood

The future looks all right for the All Whites after FIFA announced its proposed slot allocation for the expanded 48-team World Cup, including an automatic place for Oceania.

Other proposals include 16 places for Europe - up from 13 - and a six-team inter-zonal play-off tournament for two more spots.

They will be submitted to the FIFA Council at its next full meeting in Bahrain in May for a final decision, FIFA said on Thursday.

The lack of a guaranteed spot for Oceania - the only confederation not to have one - was a major reason for the Socceroos competing in Asia since 2006.

New Zealand qualified for the 2010 World Cup and are the only other nation from Oceania to ever make it to the big dance.

Under the proposal, made by the FIFA Bureau, for the enlarged tournament beginning in 2026, Europe would get 16 direct places, Africa nine, Asia eight, South America six, CONCACAF six and Oceania one, totalling 46 teams.

The host nation would qualify automatically and its slot would be taken from the allocation of its confederation.

In the most innovative part of the proposal, the two remaining places would be decided by a six-team play-off tournament which would take place in the World Cup host nation, possibly in the November before the finals, FIFA said.

That tournament would include one team from each confederation, except UEFA, and an extra one from the continent of the host country.

FIFA decided in January to increase the tournament from 32 teams to 48.

The current allocation is 13 places to Europe, five to Africa, four to Asia and South America and three to CONCACAF. Asia, South America, CONCACAF and Oceania also get a place in two play-offs.

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