India Launches 2027 Asian Cup Bid While Taking Aim At 2026 World Cup Qualification

India this week launched an aggressive bid to host the 2027 AFC Asian Cup Football tournament as the All India Football Federation (AIFF) unveiled plans to host the event.

Kiren Rijiju, India’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports and Praful Patel, All India Football Federation (AIFF) President and FIFA Council Member unveil India 2027 bid book and logo (India 2027 Photo)

Kiren Rijiju, India’s Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports and Praful Patel, All India Football Federation (AIFF) President and FIFA Council Member unveil India 2027 bid book and logo (India 2027 Photo)

Trumpeting the new slogan “Brighter Future Together” at a presentation in New Delhi, organizers said they plan to leverage recent experience and modern world class stadiums to successfully deliver Asia’s flagship football event. It was further claimed that India represents the “world’s fastest emerging football market” with a population of over 1.3 billion.

AIFF President and FIFA Council Member Praful Patel underlined the path taken towards this bid explaining “It has taken a lot of hard work to reach the level we are at today, where we can think of hosting international events year on year.”

“The 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup in India left an indelible mark on our country and we’re now working towards ensuring FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and the Asian Football Confederation  (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup go down as two of the most successful women’s international football tournaments.”

India has never hosted the Asian Cup and if it hopes to stage the event in 2027 for the first time it will need to defeat bids that are emerging from Iran, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  The former two have already hosted the Asian Games twice.

Patel insists that the big markets represented by India and China, the two most populous nations in the world, should not and cannot be ignored and this will give India an edge in the race.  China is set to host the tournament in 2023.

Last year Indian sport officials laid out an optimistic roadmap of events towards potentially hosting an Olympic Games as early as 2032.  It included a Youth Olympic Games in 2026 that is now unattainable after the 2022 event set for Dakar in Senegal was rescheduled for 2026 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Plans to host an Asian Games in the next decade also evaporated Wednesday when the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) awarded Doha, Qatar the event in 2030 and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2034.

The Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) have told GamesBids.com that India is not in the running for their 2026 flagship event, but that 2030 is still open.

India 2027

The 2027 Asian Cup could help fill the void of major sport events now beyond the reach of India.

“We have to have some kind of roadmap, if you don’t have a roadmap, a vision… all these tournaments do help us,” Patel told GamesBids.com.

“It certainly requires some goal, at least some target which we work on.  I think the 2027 Asian Cup is just one target, another target is the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.”

India has never competed in the FIFA World Cup.

“So we have six years now and we have a lot of young talent, a new crop that has come up in football that we hope to nurture and take a shot at the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, Patel added.

“While we would love to host as many events as possible in our home country, that not withstanding I think we still have many more things to look forward to and achieve and give our best shot.”

The bid also revealed its new logo at the launch, according to a statement the emblem “represents the ambition, commitment, focus and spirit of the bid, epitomized by the royal tiger.”

The slogan Brighter Future Together “highlights the exceptional opportunity the bid presents for AFC and AIFF to work in partnership and take Indian and Asian football to the next level.”

The winning host nation will be confirmed at the AFC Extraordinary Congress in 2021.

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About Robert Livingstone


A senior producer, award-winning journalist and author, covering Olympic bid business as founder of GamesBids.com as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.