The Fédération Internationale de Football Association have confirmed the World Cup will be expanded by 16 teams for the 2026 edition.
In what is the ninth official change to the format of the global showpiece, 48 teams will now participate instead of 32 after FIFA confirmed a unanimous vote for change during the meeting held in Zurich on Tuesday.
The world governing body went on to dismiss claims that top European sides would suffer from the new format due to a congested fixture list, but the new system means the eventual winners will still play only seven games.
With 80 games to be played instead of 64, the overall structure of 16 groups of three teams each will allow the tournament to finish within 32 days.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino claims the dramatic change will create a more inclusive tournament for the world and will develop the sport globally.
“There is nothing bigger in terms of boosting football in a country than participating in a World Cup,” he said at Tuesday’s press conference.
According to Infantino, the change will produce a £521m profit rise, to an overall revenue of £5.29bn.