Bengaluru, April 2: Countires planning to host the 2027 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup have been given an extended deadline for expressions of interest, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The AFC had initially set a March 31 cut off for countries considering bids to host the 2027 Asian Cup to express their interest.
But now, the deadline has been extended till June 30.
"The AFC has decided to extend the deadline for Member Associations to submit their "Expression of Interest" for hosting the AFC Asian Cup 2027 from March 31, 2020 to June 30, 2020," AFC President Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement.https://t.co/pWx3YMeUaG — #AsianCup2023 (@afcasiancup) April 2, 2020
"The decision was taken in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic to allow member associations, many of whom have been affected by the global outbreak, sufficient time to meet their internal processes and timelines," the AFC statement added.
At its meeting in Hong Kong in December last year, the AFC Executive Committee had agreed to provide future hosts for the AFC Asian Cup, beginning with the 2027 edition, with more preparation time as part of the AFC's continued commitment towards upgrading its competitions and enhancing the continent's premier football tournament.
The AFC Asian Cup was expanded from 16 to 24 teams from the 2019 edition held in the United Arab Emirates, which was won by 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts Qatar.
The 2023 AFC Asian Cup will be staged in 10 cities in China, the second time the East Asian nation has hosted the tournament after 2004.
Saudi Arabia, who have won the continental title three times but never hosted the tournament, are the only nation to have publicly announced their intention to launch a bid for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
(With inputs from AFC Media)