India officially bid for the hosting rights for 2027 AFC Asian Cup on Wednesday.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, All India Football Federation (AIFF) president Praful Patel were present during the press conference of the official bid.
The logo for the official bid for AFC Asian Cup along with the slogan - ‘ Brighter Future Together’, was also revealed.
In an official release, AIFF said that the “bid logo highlights India’s ambition, focus and spirit: As the national animal and one considered to be royal, the tiger epitomises India’s spirit and ambition to be a leader in football, and represents the unique exuberance visiting fans and teams will experience. Indian football’s sharp focus and committed vision to moving forward, is showcased in the eye of the tiger."
“India’s national team, the Blue Tigers, feature tiger inspired stripes on their kit’s sleeves."
India, with the bid, hopes to “unlock new commercial opportunities, fill stadia and engage a passionate audience of more than 1 billion."
The tournament “would accelerate the growth of Indian and Asian football, with transformational legacy initiatives fast-tracking the development of the game, increasing grassroots participation and enhancing elite performance."
India is confirmed as the hosts of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and will also host the 2021 FIFA Under- 17 Women’s World Cup after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, and have in 2017 hosted the FIFA Under- 17 World Cup.
Indian women’s team captain Ashalata Devi and former men’s team player Gouramangi Singh as well as India U-16 youngster Shubho Paul were also present at the announcement ceremony.
Kiren Rijiju, present at the launch, said: “We have a rich history of football in India. We were at the top in the 1950s. We need to get back to the top now. The AFC Asian Cup is one of the most prestigious footballing competitions in Asia. The Government fully supports the AIFF in this cause."
“Hosting Asia’s biggest football event, the AFC Asian Cup 2027 will be a huge milestone for Indian sports. Our nation is perfectly poised to host a mega sporting event of this magnitude. We have extensive experience over the last two decades of successfully planning, organising and staging some of the world’s biggest sporting events and are looking forward to hosting two more big events in 2022 - the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup and AFC Women’s Asian Cup. I assure you that all government support will be given in getting this tournament to India, and making it a memorable one for everyone involved," Kiren Rijiju added.
“Our dream should be to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2026. We have six more years till then. To say that India is hosting a World Cup can be wild, but playing in one is still possible," Praful Patel said at the press conference.
“It’s not just our effort (to bid for the Asian Cup 2027), it’s the whole country’s efforts. We are just India’s representatives," he added.
When he was asked on India’s vision for 2027, Praful Patel said: “We have been playing against highly-competitive teams including Iran, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, hence we shouldn’t feel as underdogs anymore. If we don’t push Indian football forward by 2027, we are wasting our time."
AFC had announced on Tuesday that received the AFC Asian Cup 2027 bid from Saudi Arabian and Qatar.
Qatar and Saudi Arabia are among five AFC Member Associations bidding to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027 alongside the All India Football Federation, the Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran and Uzbekistan Football Association - all of whom have until December 18, 2020 to submit their bid book.
Saudi Arabia are winners of AFC Asian Cup on three occasions in 1984, 1988 and 1996, are bidding to stage Asia’s crowning jewel for the first time. Meanwhile, Qatar, who are the reigning champions of the AFC Asian Cup after clinching their maiden crown in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2019, are aiming to be the first Asian country to stage the Continent’s premier national team competition for the third time, having hosted previously in 1988 and 2011.
China PR were confirmed as hosts for the upcoming AFC Asian Cup 2023 at the AFC Extraordinary Congress in Paris, France in June 2019, and will be looking to build upon the legacy of the last edition in the UAE and setting the benchmark for the 2027 edition.
The host nation for the 19th edition of the AFC Asian Cup in 2027 will be announced in 2021.