Five countries, India, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Uzbekistan, have put their hat in the ring to host the 2027 Asian Cup, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed on Wednesday.
It was back in April that the All India Football Federation (AIFF) submitted its bid to the AFC with hopes of hosting the showpiece tournament for the first ever time. The Asian football body had already extended the deadline to register expressions of interest from March 31 to June 30 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and three months later, four other nations have entered the race.
Of the five countries, two have already hosted the Asian Cup twice since its inception in 1956. Qatar hosted the tournament in 1988 and 2011, while Iran, hosted and won the coveted competition twice on home soil in 1968 and 1976.
The bidding countries will now have to deliver the necessary bidding documentation in accordance with the bidding process. The host for the 19th edition of the AFC Asian Cup will be announced in 2021.
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.
“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.”
Will India win the race to host 2027 Asian Cup?
India has recently won the hosting rights to the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup beating Taiwan and Uzbekistan. Qatar, as well, are set to host the upcoming FIFA World Cup — so it is unlikely that either country will win the bid. However, there is a catch.
After the fiasco at climax of bidding process for the 2023 edition, it can be expected either drop out of bids or a split of votes.India had also joined the race to host the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, alongside Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea. But pulled out early in October 2018. Later, Thailand and South Korea also followed suit and pulled out leaving China the sole country to host the 2023 tournament.