The governing body took the decision in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Asian Football Confederation has extended the deadline for initial bids for hosting the Asian Cup 2027. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the entire process and hence has caused administrative troubles.

The AFC has now declared that expressions of interests would now be accepted until June 30th. Ahead of this announcement, the original deadline for the same was March 31st. The statement from the Federation read, “The decision was taken in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic to allow member associations, many of whom have been affected by the global outbreak, sufficient time to meet their internal processes and timelines.”

The previous edition of the Asian Cup was played in 2019 in UAE. On the other hand, competition in 2023 will be held in China. So far, South Korea is the only country that has put its name in contention to bag the hosting rights for 2027. The FIFA 2022 World Cup and the Asian Cup 2023 joint qualifiers have been put on a halt due to the outbreak.

In fact, the Indian team was set to play against Qatar on March 26. Thereafter, they were pitted in front of Bangladesh on June 4 and Afghanistan on the ninth day of the same month. However, all these encounters have been suspended due to the current situation. Similarly, other fixtures were called off earlier last month too.

In 2019, Qatar emerged victorious in the Asian Cup. It also marked an important occasion as the number of participating teams were increased from 16 to 24. The Indian team under the tutelage of Stephen Constantine was knocked in the group stages of the competition. Despite having started the tournament on a positive note with a thumping victory against Thailand, the Blue Tigers fell short of the required results in the successive two matches of the event.

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