Report: Concacaf, CONMEBOL could combine World Cup qualifying processes

Michael Bradley vs. Lionel Messi - USA vs. Argentina - CAC

Amid talk of a new Copa América event featuring both North and South American teams, yet another possible Western Hemisphere soccer collaboration is apparently being considered.

Concacaf and CONMEBOL officials will discuss combining their respective World Cup qualifying processes when executives from across the sport gather in Miami for the FIFA Council this week, according to a Marca report.

Such a merger of qualifying systems would create one enormous race – stretching from Canada to Argentina – for places at the World Cup, a process which is already on track to become a dramatically different experience around the world as FIFA’s signature event grows from 32 to 48 teams for the 2026 edition.

At present, CONMEBOL holds a lengthy round-robin qualifying tournament among its 10 member nations to decide who earns the confederation’s four-and-a-half (four automatic berths and one intercontinental playoff slot) places at the World Cup.

Concacaf stages a multi-phase process involving 35 member nations vying for one of the three-and-a-half World Cup berths (three automatic and one intercontinental playoff slot) granted to the region. Both confederations stand to gain a significantly expanded number of spots at the 2026 World Cup, to be jointly hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States.