The World Cup, already one of the biggest events in sports, is getting even bigger.
FIFA announced Tuesday the event will expand from 32 to 48 teams by 2026, The New York Times reports.
The move was not without controversy. FIFA is still reeling from a corruption scandal involving former president Sepp Blatter. And the bigger tournament could lead to exhausted players and less prestige, since it'll be easier to qualify. It'll also make it harder for smaller nations to host the event.
But expansion is good news for Africa, Asia and Caribbean nations who are typically underrepresented at the big event. And expansion means at least $1 billion in revenue just from the group stages, by FIFA's estimate.
The FIFA Council unanimously decided on a 48-team #WorldCup as of 2026:— FIFA Media (@fifamedia) January 10, 2017
16 groups of 3 teams. Details to follow after the meeting.
Here's FIFA's initial announcement tweet.
FIFA say increasing the size of the World Cup is not a financial decision. Aye, the extra billion in revenue is just a nice coincidence.— Paddy Power (@paddypower) January 10, 2017
Fans didn't buy the reports that it wasn't about money.
Delighted to win The Best FIFA award. Wouldn't be possible without my teammates, coaches and you who support me every day. Thanks everyone! pic.twitter.com/1E1VkaYbTu— Cristiano Ronaldo (@Cristiano) January 9, 2017
On Monday, FIFA also announced its players of the year. Cristiano Ronaldo won for men.
And the U.S.'s own Carli Lloyd was named the best women's player in back-to-back years.