India withdraws from race to host 2027 AFC Asian Cup

After India's withdrawal, Saudi Arabia remain the only contender to host the 2027 edition of Asia's showpiece tournament.

Update: 2022-12-05 07:32 GMT

India had bid to host the AFC Asian Cup for the first time in 2027. (AIFF)

India have officially withdrawn their bid to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has been notified by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) of their decision to withdraw from the host selection process.

"Our current focus is building the foundations of proper footballing structure before thinking of hosting bigger events like the AFC Asian Cup," said the AIFF Executive Committee in a statement.

AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey said, "India has always been a wonderful and efficient host to big tournaments, which was amply demonstrated in the recently concluded FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. However, the EC has decided that the overall strategy of the Federation currently remains on focusing on the fundamental goals to strengthen our football at every level from grassroots to youth development."

The AFC Executive Committee had shortlisted the AIFF and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) bids to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027 during its meeting on October 17, 2022. The AFC Congress is to decide the final host in Manama, Bahrain, in February 2023.

Following the withdrawal of the AIFF bid, SAFF's bid to host the 19th edition of the AFC Asian Cup in 2027 will now be the only one presented to the 33rd AFC Congress for consideration.

The 2027 edition of the continental men's football showpiece was earlier set to be held in China but they withdrew, prompting AFC to look for new hosts. India and Saudi Arabia had emerged as the two favourites to step in.

Had India won the hosting rights, it would have been the first time that India would be hosting the marquee continental football tournament. 

The last edition of the AFC Asian Cup was held in the UAE in 2019. India exited the tournament in the group stages. India have already qualified for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 in Qatar after topping Group D in the third round of qualifiers.

Japan are the most successful team with four Asian titles while Saudi Arabia and Iran have both won three championships each.

India finished as runners-up in 1964 in a four-nation tournament and after that were part of the 1984, 2011 and 2019 editions.


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