By Samindra Kunti in Paris
June 5 – On the sidelines of the AFC Extraordinary Congress Praful Patel, president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), reaffirmed India’s intention to bid for the 2027 Asian Cup after his federation dropped out of the race for the 2023 edition, which was awarded to China by Asia’s governing body on Tuesday.
The Indians have recently gone on a hosting and bidding spree, staging the 2017 U-17 World Cup and next year’s U-17 Women’s World Cup. They have also expressed interest in hosting the 2021 U-20 World Cup, but Patel wants to aim for more, mulling over a bid for Asia’s 2027 flagship tournament.
“India is moving step by step up the ladder,” said Patel, who was elected a member of the FIFA Council in April. “We hosted the U-17 men’s World Cup and now the U-17 World Cup for girls next year. We hope to also bid for the U-20 World Cup in 2021 and after China we will be hoping to bid for the Asian Cup in 2027.”
India had joined the race for the 2023 event, alongside Thailand, Indonesia and South Korea, but pulled out early in October 2018. This spring India first expressed interest in hosting the 2027 tournament in a strategic plan released by the AIFF. China – they were the only bid left – were awarded the hosting rights on Tuesday after a formal confirmation by the AFC.
India would likely be up against South Korea for the hosting rights to 2027. The South Koreans were the last nation to drop out of the 2023 bid, leaving the Chinese as soled bidders, saying that they wanted to focus on their 2023 Women’s World Cup bid but that were interested in hosting 2027,
AIFF president Patel deemed China a natural choice for the 2023 edition. “They have been working very hard in the last many years to develop football and with a growing desire to promote football it is natural and a good decision to award the Asian Cup to China,” said Patel. “All commercial and other interests have to be factored, but it was one of the strongest contenders for the Asian Cup and with others withdrawing – Korea withdrew a month ago – so it should be a natural choice.”
In April Patel joined football’s top table as one of Asia’s representatives at the FIFA Council. The newcomer was quick to praise Gianni Infantino. “FIFA is in good and save hands with Gianni Infantino,” said Patel. “He has shown great leadership, exemplary leadership in the last four years. Everything in FIFA is getting more streamlined and orderly and discipline has come into FIFA and that is very important. Financial stability, more transparency has been brought in. This is all a very positive sign in his leadership.”
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1590438030labto1590438030ofdlr1590438030owedi1590438030sni@o1590438030fni1590438030