Ghana’s hopes of qualifying for the World Cup will be easier from 2026 after FIFA allocated nine slots to Africa for the expanded 48-team World Cup.
FIFA on Thursday announced a plan for the proposed allocation of slots from its confederations for the expanded tournament from 2026.
Africa will get nine guaranteed places, up from five which means it will be easier for Ghana to qualify for the World Cup.
The Concacaf region, which includes the United States, would get six automatic qualifiers under the new plan, up from its current three for the 32-team 2018 World Cup. Asia will get eight, doubling its current allotment of four.
The two strongest regions will not increase their allotment as significantly: South America’s 10-member confederation, Conmebol, would get six places instead of its current four automatic slots, and Europe’s total of automatic qualifiers would rise to only 16, from 13.
Oceania, which has not had an automatic place in previous World Cups, will get one beginning in 2026 under the FIFA plan, which must be ratified by the governing FIFA Council at its meeting in May.
The host country will continue to receive an automatic place, but in the future that slot would come out of its confederations allotment.
In the event of co-hosts, FIFA said, the FIFA Council will decide how many teams will be granted automatic entry.
That has implications for the United States and two of its regional rivals, as U.S. Soccer is considering bidding with Mexico and Canada for the expanded 2026 tournament.
FIFA’s plan accounts for 46 of the 48 places in the expanded field.
And though qualifying would become easier for many countries, the major nations that stumble also will be given a second chance under the proposal, which includes the creation of a playoff tournament for the final two places.
That pre-World Cup tournament would match representatives from various confederations in play-in games, with the winners to face the top two teams in the FIFA world ranking that failed to qualify for the right to enter the main field.