India could qualify for 2026 FIFA World Cup, FIFA investing heavily: Gianni Infantino
FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the world football body is investing heavily in Indian football.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino has encouraging words for India's chances to qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Speaking during an Instagram Live session after the completion of the 2022 World Cup, which was won by Argentina, the FIFA President said that the increase of the number of teams from 32 to 48 gives India - like other nations - a better chance to qualify for the 'greatest show on Earth' when it is held in North America four years from now.
"Will India going to be part of 2026? 1.5 billion people want to see them (sic)," was a question posed to Infantino during the session.
He said, "Well, I hope very soon. The next men's World Cup is with 48 teams instead of 32 teams. So India obviously has as well a chance to qualify (as other countries)."
"What I can assure all our fans in India is that we are heavily investing in Indian football to make it big. Such a big country needs to have a great football competition and a great football team. So we are working on that," he added.
READ | What is the new FIFA World Cup format, can it help India? — Explained
According to new FIFA guidelines, the next World Cup is going to feature 8 teams from Asia - up from the maximum of 5 till this year.
Currently ranked 106 in the world, India are 19th in Asia. Even when India had achieved the best ranking of 94, they had been far away from the continent's top 8.