The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) on Wednesday announced that it has received official bids from five Member Associations- including India- to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
Iran, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are the other four bidders interested in hosting the continental championship. The winners of the bidding process will be announced in 2021.
In an official announcement, AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said:
"The AFC Asian Cup is the pinnacle stage for Asia’s finest and the record-breaking and biggest-ever edition in the United Arab Emirates in 2019 laid the foundations for Asian football to strengthen this legacy and we have no doubts that China PR will not only match but also surpass all our expectations in 2023."
He thanked the five Member Associations for expressing their support and hailed their ambitions as a sign of the increasing popularity of the AFC Asian Cup. He said:
"On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to thank all our Member Associations for stepping forward to express their desire and for sharing our ambitions to host a world-class stage for our players, teams, officials and fans and I wish all of them the very best in the bidding process."
History of the AFC Asian Cup
The first-ever AFC Asian Cup was hosted by Hong Kong in 1956 as a quadrangle single-legged league and was won by South Korea. The AFC Asian Cup has been played 18 times after a gap of four years every year, except for the 2007 edition, which was played after three years. The winners represent AFC in the FIFA Confederations Cup.
Japan are the most successful side in the Asian Cup as they have won the title on four occasions. (1992, 2000, 2004 and 2011). India have qualified for four editions of Asia's premier international competition and their best performance came in the 1964 edition of the tournament when they finished as the runners-up.
Qatar are currently the defending champions of the Asian Cup. They won the 2019 edition after defeating Japan 3-1 in the final in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Meanwhile, India finished at the bottom of their group in 2019 after winning the opening game against Thailand with a 4-1 scoreline.
India has never hosted an Asian Cup
India had earlier expressed their interest to host the 2023 AFC Asian Cup but their bid was submitted beyond the deadline of March 2017. They subsequently withdrew their bid and chose to focus on the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup 2021 (earlier 2020) instead.
The 2027 edition will be the first-ever Asian Cup event to be hosted by India if the All India Football Federation wins the bidding.
Qatar and Iran are the only interested parties who have hosted the tournament before. Qatar hosted the 1988 and 2011 editions of the tournament while Iran are the only Asian side who have won the title twice on their home soil (1968 and 1976).Published 02 Jul 2020, 08:57 IST