Format and schedule proposals for a FIFA World Cup with 12 four-team groups

26 Pages Posted: 13 Mar 2023

See all articles by Mario Guajardo

Mario Guajardo

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Business and Management Science

Alex Krumer

University of St. Gallen

Date Written: March 13, 2023

Abstract

After the expansion of the FIFA World Cup from 32 to 48 teams starting from the 2026 edition, the initial proposal was to split the 48 national teams into 16 groups of three. Among other drawbacks, this proposal provides potential for collusion. Recently, after widespread criticism, FIFA officials signaled the possibility to re-discuss that proposal, pointing to a tournament with 12 groups of four teams. If this new proposal prevails, relevant questions arise about tournament design and schedule. In this paper, we propose tournament formats for a World Cup with 12 groups of four teams, considering a number of criteria, such as non-collusion, symmetry in rest days, no dead rubbers, and a tournament length of about one month. At the same time, our proposals attempt to adhere to the traditional format, with some nuances either in the group stage or in the knockout stage.

Keywords: FIFA World Cup, Round-robin, scheduling, soccer

JEL Classification: C60, C61

Suggested Citation

Guajardo, Mario and Krumer, Alex, Format and schedule proposals for a FIFA World Cup with 12 four-team groups (March 13, 2023). NHH Dept. of Business and Management Science Discussion Paper No. 2023/2, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4387569 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4387569

Mario Guajardo (Contact Author)

Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) - Department of Business and Management Science ( email )

Helleveien 30
Bergen, NO-5045
Norway

Alex Krumer

University of St. Gallen ( email )

St. Gallen
Switzerland

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