FIFA vice-president Victor Montagliani believes it was a good thing that Russia and Qatar got the World Cup, as it sparked the corruption investigations.
Montagliani thinks that if the 2018 and 2022 World Cup tournaments weren’t given to Russia and Qatar, authorities might not have started looking into the corruption within FIFA. Football’s governing body has had a lot of scandals in the past few years with former president Sepp Blatter being found guilty of corruption.
“If Russia and Qatar wouldn’t have got these World Cups would we be in this situation now with an opportunity to clean the game?,” Montagliani said.
“I think that was the starting point and the tipping point for certain things to happen. If England and the US had got the World Cup, maybe we would’ve had status quo. I’m just wondering if the authorities that have stepped up their involvement in the game would’ve done that if the choices had been a bit different. Maybe the best thing that happened in football was Russia and Qatar.”
Montagliani, who is the president of CONCACAF, also said that he believes that the World Cup will be expanded from the current 32-team format.
“I think it’s obvious it’s not going to stay at 32 for 2026. I think it’s going to change,” Montagliani added. “If we listened to traditionalists we’d still have a 16-team World Cup. And there is a balance. You don’t want 211 countries in a World Cup either.
“But the reality is that the World Cup is such a strong brand and inspires a lot of hope and inspiration in countries. For them just to dream about it, never mind get a piece of it, provides a lot of groundswell in those countries to promote the game. I think it’s an opportunity and I think the president is right to really look at it. Should it expand? I think the answer is probably yes. I think [the question] now is: ‘What’s the format?”’