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Federation Internationale de Football Association president makes gains on World Cup expansion

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As things stand, only Kazakhstan has expressed any interest in bringing the 2026 tournament back to Europe.

But there has been speculation that the USA are preparing a fresh bid for 2026, and could even host the tournament in tandem with Canada and Mexico.

The ruling means that only a North American, South American, African or Oceanic nation can host the tournament and boosts the potential odds for the U.S. to host the competition should it choose to bid for the 2026 tournament.

The United States last hosted the World Cup in 1994 with Brazil triumphant.

Critics have voiced concern that a bigger competition would dilute the quality of World Cup play and add new fixtures to football's already packed calendar.

Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino built momentum towards expanding the World Cup Friday as some powerbrokers appeared to back the move, while sceptics will have to be convinced before a final call in January.

"It's easy for the world champions to have an opinion about the World Cup", Infantino told reporters on Friday.

Gulati said the new clarity in bidding would encourage an entry from the United States, which could be open to co-hosting with a neighbouring country.

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The FIFA Council will next meet in January and that is when Infantino expects them to vote on the format.

Gianni Infantino made expansion to 40 teams part of his election manifesto. "We'll have to decide what is best for football", he said.

"We won't make a decision until hosting until we know what the rules are", he said "We now know some of those rules, about the eligibility, we don't know the size of the tournament and until we see those and there is a lot of clarity.in the process, then we'll make a decision about it".

"We have a great relationship with Canada and Mexico".

Mr Eini said: "This time there is a genuine concern that we will be suspended from all global competition".

The council picked Bahrain's capital Manama to host the upcoming congress, scheduled for May 11.

On Thursday, FIFA president Gianni Infantino revealed that the organisation's highest decision-making body supports the idea in the belief that it will increase the global popularity of the game.

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