The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) on Thursday asked FIFA to bring forward plans to expand the World Cup to 48 teams in time for the 2022 tournament in Qatar.
The competition is due to be extended from 32 teams to 48 in time for the 2026 finals, which will be awarded either to Morocco or a joint North American bid from the United States, Mexico and Canada.
However, CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez handed over a letter to FIFA president Gianni Infantino at the organisation’s congress in Buenos Aires, signed by the heads of the 10 South American federations, urging the early expansion.
“We are asking that the 2022 World Cup be played with 48 teams,” Dominguez said.
Five CONMEBOL teams – Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia and Peru – will go to this year’s World Cup in Russia.
Under the existing qualifying system, four South American countries qualify automatically with the fifth having to come through a two-legged play-off.
For this year’s World Cup, Peru beat Oceania’s top side New Zealand to make it to Russia.
The new 48-team format will give South America six places, with a seventh side going into an intercontinental play-off.