FIFA has given up on its efforts to expand the 2022 World Cup to 48 teams, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the decision publicly.
FIFA had been exploring if logistical and political complexities could be overcome to expand the tournament from 32 to 48 teams, which would have required at least one more country being used in the Persian Gulf to accommodate an additional 16 matches in the region.
A FIFA internal report in March concluded that the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia cannot join as co-hosts unless they restore the economic and travel ties with Qatar that were severed two years ago.
FIFA concluded that it lacked to the time to prepare a country to host the extra games.
The regional diplomatic crisis left neutral Kuwait and Oman as the viable options. Oman has said it isn’t keen on hosting games at the FIFA showpiece.