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India withdraws bid to host 2027 AFC Asian Cup

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said that it would now present Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the 2027 tournament to its Congress, to be held in Manama in February 2023.

NEW DELHI: India on Monday withdrew its bid to stage the 2027 AFC Asian Cup, with the All India Football Federation (AIFF) declaring that hosting big-ticket events is not among its “strategic priorities” at this juncture.

India and Saudi Arabia were the only countries left as bidders to host the continental showpiece after Iran and Uzbekistan pulled out of the race in October. India’s bid was launched in 2020 when Praful Patel was the AIFF president, but the current dispensation, under Kalyan Chaubey, feels that “building the foundations of football structure” through grassroots and youth development was more important than hosting big events.

“As per the strategic roadmap of the federation, which will be announced later this month, the AIFF management thinks hosting of big events doesn’t fit into the federation’s strategic priorities,” the AIFF said in a release, quoting its executive committee.

“Our current focus is building the foundations of proper footballing structure before thinking of hosting bigger events like the AFC Asian Cup,” it added. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said that it would now present Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the 2027 tournament to its Congress, to be held in Manama in February 2023.

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