Pacific support for expanded Football World Cup

The Solomon Islands Football Federation says proposed changes to World Cup qualifying offers a clearer and more realistic path for Pacific Island nations.

Oceania is set to get an automatic qualifying spot in an expanded 48-team tournament, which is proposed to come into effect in 2026.

There is also a half place for a second team from Oceania to go through to a final qualifying competition.

The Acting CEO of the Solomon Islands Football Federation, Joseph Boso, said there was a bigger incentive to drive development because it was a clearer path to qualification.

"So I think very quickly we will see the impact on the ground as the teams know that New Zealand obviously is the top team in the region and beyond New Zealand you get to the World Cup so I think we will see a lot of change and it's something we will see make a lot of difference when it comes to senior national teams," he said.

Joseph Boso said the proposal for an expanded World Cup has a lot of support from throughout Oceania.

"From a development point of view the reason why people would want to place their votes behind that is for the simple reason that [it's] not an easier path, one would say."

"But it's a direct path so the call for investment in developing football, national teams and other aspects of football will be something that is more attractive to countries with very limited resources like Solomon Islands and of course other Pacific Islands countries," he said.

The proposals will be submitted to the FIFA Council at its next full meeting in Bahrain in May for a final decision.


Photo: OFC via Phototek Solomon Islands had plenty of shots on goal.