The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has officially withdrawn its bid to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027 in India, the AIFF and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) jointly notified on Monday.
“The Executive Committee of the All India Football Federation has decided to withdraw its bid to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027. As per the strategic Roadmap of the Federation, which will be announced later this month, the AIFF management thinks the hosting of big events doesn’t fit into the Federation’s strategic priorities. Our current focus is building the foundations of a proper footballing structure before thinking of hosting bigger events like the AFC Asian Cup,” said AIFF in the Executive Committee statement.
During its meeting on October 17, 2022, the AFC Executive Committee shortlisted bids from the AIFF and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027. The AFC Congress was scheduled to select the ultimate host in February 2023 in Manama, Bahrain.
With former footballer Kalyan Chaubey elected as the new AIFF president and Shaji Prabhakaran taking up the role of the Secretary General, the Indian football federation is under new management. The regime is drawing up a new roadmap for Indian football, which is set to be revealed later this month.
“India has always been a wonderful and efficient host to big tournaments, which was amply demonstrated in the recently concluded FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup. However, the executive committee has decided that the overall strategy of the federation currently remains on focusing on the fundamental goals to strengthen our football at every level from grassroots to youth development,” Kalyan Chaubey said in an official statement.
“Hosting competitions require big resources and sometimes encourages the tendency to take the major issues away from our focus. Right now, our focus should be to take Indian football forward together,” Shaji Prabhakaran further explained.
Following India’s withdrawal, Saudi Arabia’s candidacy to host the 19th AFC Asian Cup in 2027 will be the only one presented to the AFC Congress for deliberation.
The AFC Asian Cup was last hosted in the UAE in 2019, and Qatar will host the next edition in 2023.
After winning Group D in the third round of qualifying, the Indian men’s football team has already qualified for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 in Qatar. (ANI)