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Saudi Arabia secures hosting rights to stage 2027 AFC Asian Cup

Saudi Arabia secures hosting rights to stage 2027 AFC Asian Cup
February 1, 2023

Saudi Arabia has, for the first time, secured the hosting rights to stage the AFC Asian Cup 2027. The AFC Asian Cup is the primary association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Asian Football Confederation, determining the continental champion of Asia.

Saudi Arabia have been crowned champions on three occasions (1984, 1988, 1996).

Following the decision, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, Minister of Sport and Chairman of the Saudi Olympic & Paralympic Committee commented "we are humbled and honoured to be hosting the AFC Asian Cup™ 2027. We are committed to not only hosting a great tournament that will be memorable for all fans but also to developing and growing the game across Asia through offering new platforms for exchanges and access to new opportunities. Hosting major sports events, and football in specific plays an integral part in our country's transformative Vision 2030 to increase participation. I do not doubt that this tournament will inspire young boys and girls across the country to participate in sports and dream of representing their country one day.

“I want to thank everyone involved in the bid over the last few years who helped bring this historical moment to life. Saudi Arabia's football fans have been strong supporters of the bid from the start, and I am confident that with their passion for football and unique hospitality, they will help make the AFC Asian Cup™ 2027 an exceptional one."

Yasser Al Misehal, President of the Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF), also expressed his gratitude to King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman for their unconditional support of the bid.

Al Misehal noted "we are a country bound by a love for football, and the AFC Asian Cup™ is a championship that holds immense significance for us. It is the tournament where Saudi football experienced its finest moments in. We want to thank all AFC Member Associations for their trust and hope to justify their choice by delivering the most memorable edition of this flagship competition. We look forward to welcoming fans from across the continent to experience our passion for the beautiful game, in addition to the diverse cultures and cities our beautiful country has to offer."

Commenting on the historic moment, former Saudi Arabian national team star and two-time AFC Asian Cup™ champion Mohamed Abduljawad shared "It is a dream come true to welcome the AFC Asian Cup™ to Saudi Arabia. Our fans will create an exceptional atmosphere as they have always done over the years. I am confident visitors from across Asia will experience the warm welcome of Saudi hospitality. The excitement has already begun, and we are all preparing for a memorable tournament."

The tournament will feature the most exciting talent from across Asia, with the qualifying phase to commence in October 2023.

As the host, Saudi Arabia has pledged to focus on:

  • Establishing programs to collaborate with all AFC Member Associations to create an equal playing field with new opportunities for all.
  • Supporting the development of youth football, bringing the next generation of talent into the game.

The 33rd AFC Congress received a presentation on Saudi Arabia's bid to host the tournament in 2027. HRH Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal led the presentation as he welcomed delegates from across Asia and highlighted the full readiness of the Kingdom to host the AFC Asian Cup™ with distinction.

The presentation also featured Mr. Ibrahim Alkassim, General Secretary of SAFF, and former Saudi national team player Mohammed Abduljawad. They both delivered a clear vision of the legacy that the tournament would provide in contributing to the growth and progress of football in Asia.  

Visit Saudi to sponsor 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup
In a surprise move, world football governing body FIFA is set to reveal Visit Saudi, the Saudi Arabia's national tourist board, as a sponsor of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

FIFA announced in December 2021 that Visa would be its first 'global women’s football partner' and Australia’s Commonwealth Bank (CommBank) has already been named as an 'official supporter' of the tournament.

As well as including 32 teams and taking place in two countries for the first time, the World Cup will also have a new commercial strategy as FIFA attempts to capitalise on the growing interest in the women’s game.

However, Saudi Arabia’s involvement is likely to draw interest given the country’s human rights record, which has been described as “appalling” by Amnesty International.

FIFA’s website reports that “women’s football is rather new in Saudi Arabia”.

Women in Saudi Arabia were not allowed to watch football matches until 2018 while the nation’s Women’s Football League was launched in 2020.

This month, the Saudi Arabia women’s national team hosted and won a four-team friendly event in a bid to secure a FIFA women’s ranking for the first time.

Image (left to right): AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa; Minister of Sport HRH Prince Abdul Aziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, and SAFF President Yasser Al-Misehal

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