There's An Undeniable Relationship Between World Trade And The Number Of Teams Playing In The World Cup

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World cup stadium south africaREUTERS/Kai PfaffenbachSpain’s players celebrate after the final whistle at their 2010 World Cup final soccer match against Netherlands at Soccer City stadium in Johannesburg July 11, 2010.

The most recent expansion of the World Cup took place before the 1998 tournament, when FIFA opened the tournament to 32 teams. And there has recently been speculation the tournament could expand to 40 teams.

This chart out of Goldman Sachs new report “The World Cup and Economics 2014” shows how world exports and World Cup expansion have roughly been in step since the tournament’s inception in 1930. Back then, only 13 teams participated.

During that period, world exports increased from around $US30 billion to $US22 trillion today.

“Although the decision on how many countries participate in the World Cup is made by FIFA’s governing bodies, the same market forces that are driving up exports are also likely to push for a larger representation of teams, especially as African and Asian nations increase their presence on the global stage,” wrote the analysts.

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