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AFC committee backs India as 2022 women’s Asian Cup host

Imager credit: AFC

The Asian Football Confederation announced today that India has been recommended as the first South Asian host for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

The recommendation for the 2022 tournament was made by the AFC Women’s Football Committee, which met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The AFC said: “It was felt that India, who will also have the experience of hosting the Fifa Women’s Under-17 World Cup later this year, was best placed among the three bidders – Chinese Taipei and Uzbekistan were the other competing candidates – to maximise the promotion of the women’s game.”

The two stadiums proposed by India – D Y Patil Stadium and Trans Stadia Arena – will also be used at the Fifa age-grade tournament.

India hosted the 2016 AFC Under-16 Championships and the 2017 Fifa under-17 World Cup.

The AFC said that the Committee “agreed the country could continue raising the standards of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup”.

Chairperson Mahfuza Akhter Kiron said: “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.”

The tournament will expand from eight to 12 teams in 2022.

Should India be awarded the hosting rights, then the men’s and women’s Asia Cup tournaments would be held in heavyweight Asian markets in successive years. China has already been chosen to host the men’s 2023 Asian Cup.

AFC Women’s Champions League to be phased in

The AFC Women’s Football Committee also discussed a phased introduction of a Women’s Champions League tournament.

A joint AFC/Fifa pilot Champions League tournament was run in Korea in November 2019. The pilot will run again this year, with six invited clubs.

In 2021 and 2022, the number of invited clubs will increase to eight. In 2023 and 2024, the number of clubs will increase to a minimum of 12, and entry will be open to all AFC member associations. In 2025, a 16-team tournament is planned.