The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Wednesday officially bid for the hosting rights for the AFC Asian Cup in 2027. The logo for the bid and the slogan - ‘Brighter Future Together’, were also revealed in a press conference and ceremony attended by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, Women’s team captain Ashalata Devi, former player Gourmangi Singh and AIFF president Praful Patel.
The announcement comes a couple of days after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) received similar bids from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, two other hopefuls for hosting the prestigious tournament. Iran and Uzbekistan are the other nations that are in the running. The final decision regarding the eventual hosts will be announced by the AFC in June 2021. If selected, this will be the first time that India will host the continental championships. Praful Patel had first expressed India’s interest in hosting the event in June of last year following which the bid documents were submitted in April 2020.
The official press release by AIFF expressed hopes of ‘unlocking new commercial opportunities, filling stadia and engaging a passionate audience of more than 1 billion’. The competition is also being seen as a vehicle that could ‘help accelerate the growth of Indian and Asian football, with transformational legacy initiatives fast-tracking the development of the game’.
About the logo, the release states, “The bid logo highlights India's ambition, focus and spirit: As the national animal and one considered to be royal, the tiger epitomises India's spirit and ambition to be a leader in football, and represents the unique exuberance visiting fans and teams will experience. Indian football's sharp focus and committed vision to moving forward, is showcased in the eye of the tiger.”
India is all set to host the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2021 after the initial start date of November this year was postponed due to the pandemic. The country will also be hosting the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup a year later.