By Paul Nicholson
September 10 – Saudi Arabia officially launched their bid to host the 2027 Asian Cup last night at 20.27 with a digital roll out that saw projections of the bid logo and slogan around the country and in international media.
The campaign kick-off left no-one with any doubt as to the seriousness and national commitment to their bid for the Asian Football Confederation’s fast developing blue riband national team tournament.
The Saudis have based their campaign around the slogan ‘Forward for Asia’ and recognises the “positive momentum being created in Asian football”.
The Saudis are emphasising that they want to be part of that momentum and to contribute to it. It would be the first time the country has hosted the Asian Cup having won it three times, and qualified as an AFC nation to the World Cup five times. The point being that Saudi Arabia has always made a contribution on the field of play and now they want to step up and contribute off it as well.
Saudi Arabian Football Federation president Yasser Al-Mashal said: “As we in Saudi Arabia undertake our own transformation forward through our national Vision 2030, we want to use our long-standing passion for football as a catalyst for the continued growth of football across Asia. Our vision for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup is to build much more than a tournament.
“We want to create a massive move forward for all of Asia, one that is focused on creating a new experience, a new exchange and a new expansion. We look forward to sharing our ideas with the entire Asian football family in the coming months.”
In 2023 China will host the Asian Cup that took a major step forward in 2019 when it was hosted in the UAE and expanded to 24 teams for the first time. The UAE and the AFC set an ambition for the tournament that member nations bought into as the competition’s profile rapidly expanded throughout the Asian region and beyond. China is expected to build on that benchmark and Saudi Arabia say that, if they win the hosting, they can take it to the next level.
SAFF President Yasser Al-Mashal said, “As we in Saudi Arabia undertake our own transformation forward through our national Vision 2030, we want to use our long-standing passion for football as a catalyst for the continued growth of football across Asia. Our vision for the 2027 AFC Asian Cup is to build much more than a tournament. We want to create a massive move forward for all of Asia, one that is focused on creating a new experience, a new exchange and a new expansion. We look forward to sharing our ideas with the entire Asian football family in the coming months.”
The launch of the Saudi bid has certainly raised the bar in the race for 2027 hosting. To win the bid they will need to overcome Qatar, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan. The 2027 host is expected to be announced in 2021.
Statement of intent
The 2027 bid logo “represents the powerful combination of three elements, the golden falcon, football and wings. The golden falcon Saudi Arabia’s national bird which highlights the ongoing passion of the nation is combined with football which portrays the nation’s commitment to hosting the 2027 AFC Asian Cup and ensuring renewal, expansion and positive momentum; the logo then lastly integrates with the wings which resemble partnership and moving forward,” said a SAFF press release.
SAFF General Secretary, Ibrahim Alkassim, said:“The Saudi Arabian Football Association is not only committed to hosting an exceptional AFC Asian Cup in 2027, but we are also committed to creating a strong impact across Asian football as part of organizing the tournament here in Saudi Arabia. Bringing the AFC Asian Cup to Saudi Arabia for the first-time ever, is the unique opportunity to carry forward the momentum of football in our region and across Asia. We are committed to making a 2027 Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia a huge step forward for all AFC Member Associations.”
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