FIFA president Gianni Infantino.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino. ENNIO LEANZA

Changes make Socceroos' path to World Cup easier

FOOTBALL: They may be in a fierce battle for their spot in the next World Cup in Russia 2018, but the Socceroos' path to the 2026 instalment should be made all the more easier.

According to FIFA recommendations, all regions will have their Cup slots increased when the tournament expands to 48 teams in 2026.

Africa would receive nine places, an increase of four; Asia will get eight slots (up from four and five); and Europe gets an increase to 16 from 13.

North and Central America and the Caribbean will have six places, up from three or four. South America will get six, up from four or five.

The plan is subject to approval at FIFA's May Congress in Bahrain.

Oceania, which has not been guaranteed an entry in any past World Cups, will be assured one spot.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said his federation was "satisfied" with the plan.

"We feel that UEFA will be fairly represented with a total of 16 national associations competing in the new format of the World Cup," he said.

"We look forward to this proposal being ratified by the FIFA Council in Bahrain on May 9."

The January 10 decision to expand the World Cup marked a major victory for FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who has been on the job for just over a year.

News Corp Australia

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