India withdraws bid to host 2027 AFC Asian Cup, Saudi Arabia sole contender

India on Monday withdrew its bid to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup and the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said hosting the mega event is not one of its “strategic priorities” at this point of time. India and Saudi Arabia were the only two contenders left to host the continent’s top football event in 2027 after countries like Iran and Uzbekistan pulled out of the race in October.

Former FIFF president Praful Patel laid the groundwork for India’s bid in 2020 but the current administration led by Kalyan Choubey believes that building the football infrastructure through grassroots work and youth development is more important than hosting big events Is. An AIFF release quoted the executive committee as saying, “As per the federation’s strategic roadmap to be announced this month, the FIFF management feels that hosting major events does not fit into the federation’s strategic priorities.” ,

According to it, “As of now, our focus is on laying the foundation of the football infrastructure, after which we will think about hosting big events like the AFC Asian Cup.” That was seen in the recently concluded FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup but now the focus is on strengthening the country’s football at every level, from the grassroots to youth development.

The AFC has said it will now present Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the 2027 tournament at its congress in Manama in February. The AFC said, “The AIFF has officially informed the AFC of its decision to withdraw from the selection process to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027.” The host will decide.

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Following the withdrawal of the bid by the AIFF, only the bid of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation will be submitted for consideration at the 33rd AFC Congress to host the 19th edition of the AFC Asian Cup in 2027. The 2023 tournament of the AFC Asian Cup will be held in Qatar after China expressed its inability to host the tournament due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.

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