New Delhi: India has been recommended to become the first South Asian nation to host the AFC Asian Cup 2022 by the AFC Women's Football Committee which met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Wednesday.
India along with Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan had made the bid to host the tournament and the committee felt India was best placed to "maximise the promotion of the women's game."
According to the media release by AFC, India proposed two stadiums - DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai and TransStadia Arena in Ahmedabad - two stadiums that are also being used for the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup in November this year.
Since India has hosted AFC Under-16 Championships in 2016 and the FIFA Under-17 World Cup 2017 in the past, the committee felt the country could continue to raise the standards of AFC Women's Asian Cup.
"This is the most important and prestigious competition in women's football in Asia. The last edition was a major step forward for the women's game in Asia. It was played in Jordan, the first time a West Asian nation had hosted the event. Now we are looking to build on that legacy.
"India offers the best opportunities to build the event commercially as well as increasing the value and India is also committed to developing the women's game in the country and while all three were strong bids, India stands out," Mahfuza Akhter Kiron, Committee Chairperson was quoted as saying in the AFC release.
The Committee decided that the expanded AFC Women's Asian Cup - eight to 12 teams - will be played in three groups of four with a minimum of 25 matches with eight teams qualifying for the newly introduced quarter-finals.
The committee also decided that 17 days would be the minimum length of the competition and that the Administration would be mandated to organise the relevant play-off matches - depending on the AFC slots at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023.
The tournament is likely to be organised in late October and early November and according to the media release, the match schedule will now be worked out bearing in mind the start of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the agreed FIFA release dates.