India confirms bid for 2027 AFC Asian Cup

India confirms bid for 2027 AFC Asian Cup
India has become the latest nation to declare its interest in hosting the 2027 AFC Asian Cup national team soccer tournament.

The country has now formally submitted its bid documents for staging the competition. The submission comes after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the continental soccer body, extended the deadline for bids in view of the coronavirus pandemic from 31st March to 30th June.

The news was confirmed by Kushal Das, general secretary of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the country’s national soccer body.

“We have already submitted our expression of interest to the AFC. That is what’s required as of now,” Das told Press Trust India (PTI).

India had been linked with a bid for the 2023 edition of the tournament, before cooling its interest, allowing China to later secure hosting duties.

Now, for 2027, India joins Saudi Arabia as the only countries to publicly declare their interest in hosting the tournament. South Korea is reportedly weighing up a bid.

Malaysia had been mooted as another potential bidder, but Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) general secretary Stuart Ramalingam has said that prospect now looks unlikely.

“We are not yet ready to host the Asian Cup. We need the government’s involvement and, at this juncture, it’s not the right time to look that way,” he told the country’s New Straits Times.

The AFC is expected to announce the winning bid early next year. It will be the first time India has hosted the continental showpiece event if it wins.

The country is already set to host the 2022 Women’s AFC Asian Cup and was also due to host the U17 Fifa World Cup in November before it was postponed due to the COVID-19 health crisis.

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