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World Cup expansion positive for small nations - Regan

Stewart Regan is dealing with the news in a positive manner. Credit: PA

The Scottish Football Association have welcomed the news that the World Cup will be expanded to 48 teams for the 2026 tournament.

Scotland, currently ranked 67th in the world, will now have more chance of qualifying for the tournament thanks to the expansion.

The nation last qualified for the World Cup in 1998, and now hope progression to international football's pinnacle is now possible.

We are pleased with the news that the FIFA World Cup will expand to 48 teams from 2026.

We believe this is a positive step, particularly for the smaller nations, and will allow more fans across the globe to revel in their country’s participation at a FIFA World Cup Finals. This will also allow these nations to invest further in their footballing infrastructure and youth development, which in turn can yield significant social benefits.

The exploits of Wales, Iceland, and Northern Ireland at EURO 2016 showed what an impact the smaller teams can have, and how beneficial to a tournament their participation can be. A greater eclectic mix of footballing cultures at the FIFA World Cup will create a bigger and better atmosphere than ever before.

– Scottish FA chief executive Stewart Regan


Fifa looking at measures to improve player behaviour

Marco van Basten says FIFA is considering introducing further measures to improve player behaviour towards officials.

Van Basten believes the behaviour of players towards referees should be better. Credit: PA

The world governing body's chief officer for technical development has admitted football could learn from rugby, which allows only captains to speak to referees.

"There are a lot of players now who are complaining during a game," former Holland striker and manager Van Basten said in an interview with the BBC.

"I am sure the behaviour of the players can be better - we are thinking about putting it back in the right direction."

When asked about comparisons with rugby, Van Basten replied: "I think we can learn from every sport and they can learn from us - but we have to confront the problem."

Television replays to assist referees were used for the first time in FIFA competition during this month's Club World Cup in Japan, while in English football referees were given the power to issue red cards to confrontational players.

"This is what we have to do to help the referees," Van Basten said about rule changes.

"We try to make a good product - dynamic, exciting, but in the end also honest. There's a lot of emotion in the game and that's what's good - but we have to control it also."


Culture Secretary asks Fifa to 'see sense' over poppies

Karen Bradley has urged Fifa to 'see sense'. Credit: Reuters

Fifa should "see sense" and drop disciplinary action against England and Scotland for wearing Remembrance poppies during their World Cup qualifier on Armistice Day, Culture Secretary Karen Bradley said.

There was a widespread outcry after the FA's of both countries were charged by football's world governing body for wearing armbands decorated with the poignant symbol during their November 11 game at Wembley.

Conservative MP Mrs Bradley said she had been at the national stadium for the match and been pleased to see players with poppies on to commemorate Britain's war dead.

She told told BBC 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics:

I urge Fifa to see sense in this and withdraw the threat of sanctions.

It seems that wearing a poppy, if a player wants to wear a poppy, they should be able to do so, as should fans.

– Culture Secretary Karen Bradley
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