India and Saudi Arabia will compete for the hosting rights of the 2027 Asian Cup as three other interested nations have withdrawn their bids, the AFC announced on Monday.
If India wins the bid, it will be the first time the country will host the continental showpiece event. Saudi Arabia have won the continental title three times but never hosted the tournament.
Iran withdrew their bid a few days back while Uzbekistan had pulled out of the race in December 2020.
Since Qatar, the third interested nation, were confirmed as the host association for next year’s AFC Asian Cup, they withdrew the bid for the 2027 edition.
“The AFC Executive Committee deliberated upon the bidding proposals for the AFC Asian Cup 2027 and shortlisted the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) as the final two bidders,” an AFC statement said.
The decision on the next host will be taken by the AFC Congress at its next meeting in February.
India had joined the race for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup but had pulled out early in October 2018. Since successfully staging the men’s U-17 World Cup in 2017, India are hosting the ongoing U-17 women’s World Cup.
“The decision brings to a close the bid proposal of the QFA who were considered to have withdrawn from the 2027 race following their successful 2023 bid in accordance with the applicable bidding regulations,” the statement added.
“Again, we thank our three Member Associations – the All India Football Federation, the Qatar Football Association and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation – for submitting strong bids to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027.
“In the All India Football Federation and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, we have two exemplary bids, and I am confident that the Qatar Football Association will strengthen the foundations for the eventual 2027 hosts to build upon,” AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said.