UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin not yet behind World Cup expansion idea
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has yet to give his backing to FIFA president Gianni Infantino's proposal of boosting the World Cup from 32 to 48 teams.
In his first FIFA Council meeting last week since becoming one of the governing body's vice presidents, Ceferin heard of Infantino's idea to expand the international tournament.
"We didn't want to vote on it as it was too early," Ceferin said. "We simply didn't get any information about it. Nothing. Just shall we expand or not. We said we cannot say."
Ceferin is awaiting "proper analysis" on the merits of such a significant overhaul of the tournament.
He is already certain Europe should gain a fair share of the additional 16 places rather than expansion being used to correct disparities between how the slots are currently split between the six confederations.
Thirteen teams currently qualify for the World Cup from the 55-nation UEFA region and Ceferin believes that "fans in North America and Asia prefer to watch our teams."
"If you put it to a vote [on the number of additional UEFA places], we might lose but we are the strongest confederation, nobody should forget that -- strongest in quality and all other aspects," Ceferin added. "We have the best national teams. So I doubt they will outvote us."
Ceferin said UEFA "doesn't want to hurt the other confederations" but sees additional European teams as adding to the quality of the World Cup.
"I know everyone is afraid of playing Europe in the playoffs," he added. "I can understand them but if you are afraid of playing someone that team is probably better so that team deserves to go [to the World Cup]."
UEFA has already ceded ground on the 2026 World Cup, with Ceferin approving of FIFA blocking Europe from bidding given the 2018 tournament is in Russia.
North America is now the favourite to host the event for the first time since the 1994 World Cup in the United States.
"It would really be hard for me to say it would be good it goes to North America or Africa," Ceferin said. "But given the infrastructure possibilities probably Africa will have a hard time to place a serious bid."