Oceania earn FIFA WC direct entry

New Zealand celebrate winning the OFC Nations Cup. 2016 OFC Nations Cup, Final, New Zealand v Papua New Guinea, Sir John Guise Stadium, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, Saturday 11th June 2016. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / www.phototek.nz

FIFA has confirmed the Oceania Football Confederation will have a direct spot to the FIFA World Cup from 2026.

The FIFA council voted today that Europe will have 16 slots at the 48-team World Cup from 2026 onwards, up from 13, and the five other confederations of the ruling body FIFA will also see increases.

FIFA said the council ratified a proposal from a few weeks ago after an earlier decision to raise the number of participating teams from 32 to 48.

New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin Photo: Shane Wenzlick

New Zealand Football CEO Andy Martin Photo: Shane Wenzlick

New Zealand Football Chief Executive Andy Martin said it was great news for the Oceania region.

“This news has been signposted for a while but without doubt this is a good decision and the right decision,” said Martin.

“Having all of the regions around the world represented at the FIFA World Cup is exactly the right place to be.”

Martin said the benefit of the one guaranteed place at the FIFA World Cup in 2026 will be huge for the whole Oceania region.

“It potentially makes the route for New Zealand to the FIFA World Cup less onerous,” he said.

“We know that if we qualify for the Intercontinental Playoff in November that we could be up against someone like Argentina. This way gives us more of a fighting chance. We have got to make sure that we are in the best shape possible when these opportunities come around.”

The financial windfall for the FIFA World Cup in 2026 is not yet known but if the All Whites were to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 2018 they will receive around $10m (US).

Chris Wood Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / photosport.co.nz

Chris Wood Photo: Anthony Au-Yeung / photosport.co.nz

Europe leads the way in the 2026 version of the FIFA World Cup with 16 slots, while Africa had the biggest gain, from five to nine slots. Asia will have eight, North, Central America and the Caribbean six just as South America, and Oceania one.

FIFA also confirmed that the final two berths will be determined in a six-team intercontinental mini tournament in late 2025 in the FIFA World Cup host nation.

–          Slot allocation as of the 2026 edition for the FIFA World Cup

Ratification of the proposal recommended by the Bureau of the Council during its meeting on 30 March 2017, according to which the direct berths for the FIFA World Cup as of the 2026 edition are split as follows*:

–          AFC: 8.5 slots

–          CAF: 9.5 slots

–          CONCACAF: 6.5 slots

–          CONMEBOL: 6.5 slots

–          OFC: 1.5 slot

–          UEFA: 16 slots

The approved slot allocation includes an intercontinental play-off tournament involving six teams to decide the last two FIFA World Cup berths.

* The host country would also automatically qualify for the FIFA World Cup, and its slot would be taken from the quota of its confederation. In the event of co-hosting, the number of host countries to qualify automatically would be decided by the FIFA Council.

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