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India, Saudi Arabia shortlisted for AFC Asian Cup in 2027; Qatar to host 2023 edition

Kuala Lumpur, Oct 17 (IANS) The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has shortlisted India and Saudi Arabia to bid for the 2027 edition of its flagship Men’s Asian Cup at a meeting of its Executive Committee at which it was also confirmed that Qatar will host AFC Asian Cup 2023.

The AFC Executive Committee deliberated upon the bidding proposals for the AFC Asian Cup 2027 and shortlisted the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) as the final two bidders with the hosting decision to be taken by the AFC Congress at its next meeting in February 2023.

The decision brings to a close the bid proposal of the Qatar Football Association (QFA) who were considered to have withdrawn from the 2027 race following their successful 2023 bid in accordance with the applicable bidding regulations.

China was to host the 2023 Asian Cup but pulled out as hosts a few months back citing the Covid-19 pandemic as the reason.

Chairing the 11th AFC Executive Committee meeting, AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa congratulated the Qatar Football Association (QFA) on their successful bid and also conveyed the appreciation of the Asian football family to the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) and the Korea Football Association (KFA) for their proposals.

“On behalf of the AFC and the Asian football family, I want to congratulate the Qatar Football Association on being awarded the hosting rights of the upcoming edition of the AFC Asian Cup,” he said.

“We must also thank the Football Association of Indonesia and the Korea Football Association for outlining their intentions to stage the tournament.

“Qatar’s capabilities and track record in hosting major international sporting events and their meticulous attention to detail are well admired throughout the globe.

“I must also commend the AFC for showcasing utmost professionalism in conducting a fair and transparent expedited bidding process and I thank all our commercial partners and sponsors for their patience during these unprecedented times.

“Given the short lead time in preparation, we know that the hard work begins immediately but with their existing world-class infrastructure and unrivalled hosting capabilities, we are confident that Qatar will stage a worthy spectacle befitting the prestige and stature of Asia’s crown jewel,” he added.

Qatar are the reigning AFC Asian Cup champions and will be hosting the continent’s most prestigious men’s tournament for the third time after staging the 1988 and 2011 editions.

Meanwhile, Football Australia withdrew from the AFC Asian Cup 2023 bidding process on September 1, 2022, while the Uzbekistan Football Association and the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran officially withdrew their bids to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027 on December 14, 2020, and October 13, 2022, respectively.

The AFC President added, “Again, we thank our three Member Associations — the All India Football Federation, the Qatar Football Association and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation — for submitting strong bids to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027.

“We must also acknowledge the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran and the Uzbekistan Football Association for signaling their intent to host the 2027 edition and Football Australia for indicating their interest for the 2023 tournament.

“Across our competitions, we are seeing our digital engagement and TV viewership grow in record numbers and it is our responsibility to ensure that each tournament surpasses the achievements of the previous edition.

“In the All India Football Federation and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, we have two exemplary bids, and I am confident that the Qatar Football Association will strengthen the foundations for the eventual 2027 hosts to build upon,” said the AFC president.

— IANS

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