The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed that it has received interest from five of its member associations to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup with India being one of the five countries interested. Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan are the other nations who have submitted their interest. AFC will now work with all the bidding associations and after necessary documentation in accordance with the bidding process, will announce the official host of the 2027 AFC Asian Cup by 2021.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa acknowledged the same and as per the official website, stated: “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. I wish all of them the very best in the bidding process.”
Reigning champions Qatar hosted the event in 1988 and 2011 while Iran bagged hosting rights for Asia’s crown jewel in 1968 and 1976. Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan, like India, have never hosted the tournament before. India has qualified for four editions of the AFC Asian Cup, but have failed to make it past the group stages since 1964 when they finished runners-up under legendary captain Chuni Goswami.
Currently, the AFC Asian Cup is staged after ever four years and is the second oldest continental football tournament behind the Copa America. It is the pinnacle of football in Asia and till 2015, the winning team qualified directly for the FIFA Confederations Cup. In the history of the AFC Asian Cup, Japan has been the most successful nation with four titles followed by Iran and Saudi Arabia with three each.
If India is given this opportunity to host then it’ll mark a landmark day in Indian football. The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has been recently declared as the hosts for the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup to be held next year. Hosting this competition under their umbrella will suggest that Indian football is definitely moving in the right direction.
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