Xavi wants only 32 teams for Qatar 2022 World Cup

Sajith B Warrier

Bengaluru, March 19: With the game's global governing body having come up with idea of expanding the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup from the exisiting 32 teams to a 48-team affair, the football world is divided over the matter.

Should any proposal be agreed upon by FIFA and the Supreme Committe for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL), the organisation responsible for the conduct of Qatar 2022 World Cup, then a final decision will be taken by the FIFA Congress in Paris on June 5.

However, Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez, who has been based in Doha for the last four years with former AFC Champions League winners Al Sadd, made it clear that he would prefer the Qatar 2022 World Cup to be an 32-team affair itself.

"Qatar is working to host a 32 team World Cup and it'll be difficult to change now. I think its more than enough to have 32 teams. It's better for the spectators and even for the players," Xavi told local media in Mumbai, where he kick-started the construction of a new community pitch, an initiative of the SCDL.

The 39-year-old, who is one of the brand ambassadors of the Qatar 2022 World Cup opined that a 48-team event would be too long.

"Forty eight teams will not be good, in my opinion, because it may become too long," added Xavi.

The Spaniard said the game was improving in Qatar and cited the Middle East nation's maiden AFC Asian Cup triumph as a sign of progress.

"You saw how Qatar played and won the Asian Cup. They deserved the title and now have time to prepare for the FIFA World Cup and also have the Copa America. They've a very good generation of talented young players. It all started with the Aspire Academy in 2006. They've a project, that doesn't end in 2022, but it's the main objective," he said.

Xavi also had his take on the Indian Super League, which Bengaluru FC won for the first time, beating FC Goa 1-0 in the final.

"I saw yesterday on Internet [the ISL final] where Bengaluru FC won against FC Goa. I know the ISL, I don't follow all the leagues, but follow the ISL in India.

"Many Spanish people are working here and I'm proud of them. ISL is improving.

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