Saudi Arabia is the only other nation who has publicly announced its interest to hold the competition.
The All India Football Federation has officially submitted India’s name into the reckoning to be the hosts of the AFC Asian Cup in 2027. This news was confirmed by a top official of the AIFF on Sunday. Should India win the bid, it will be the first time that the country will host the continental event.
Speaking to the Press Trust of India, AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das said, “We have already submitted our expression of interest to the AFC (Asian Football Confederation). That is what’s required as of now.”
This comes after the AFC extended the deadline to lodge a bid to host the prestigious tournament by three months, from March 31st to June 30th in lieu of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The AFC had hoped to announce the tournament hosts as soon as possible to give them more time to prepare for the quadrennial continental tournament which was expanded to 24 teams for the 2019 edition in the United Arab Emirates”, said the AFC.
The result of the bids is expected to be announced by the AFC early next year.
India faces competition for the right to host the tournament, from Saudi Arabia who have won the competition thrice but have yet to play the role of the hosts. They remain the only country to have publicly announced their interest in hosting the competition as yet.
India had previously joined Thailand, Indonesia, South Korea and China in a bid to host the 2023 edition of the competition, but pulled out of the race not long after, in October 2018. The list was whittled down before long, leaving China as the sole country interested in hosting the competition.
The 2023 showpiece tournament will be held in 10 cities across China.
It is expected that South Korea, which is hosting the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup will join the run-in to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup. After a successful FIFA U-17 World Cup in 2017, India was to host the U-17 Women’s World Cup in November, however, it has since been postponed to a later date due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to this, India has also been given hosting responsibilities for the 2022 Women’s AFC Asian Cup in 2022.
The country has featured in the AFC Asian Cup four times in the past, failing to get past the group stage in 1984, 2011 and 2019 but finishing at runners-up in 1964, when the tournament followed a round-robin format with four teams.