Qatar and Saudi Arabia face off again in 2027 Asian Cup bid race

Former South Korean international Park Ji-sung presents trophy before 2019 AFC Asian Cup final (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)

The Asian Football Confederation has announced the five bidders for its 2027 Asian Cup, with Saudi Arabia and Qatar against set to face each other in another bidding race. 

India, Iran and Uzbekistan are the three others countries joining the Middle Eastern neighbours in submitting their formal candidature to host the event. 

The AFC intends to announce its final decision next year, after carrying out an assessment of the bids over the coming months. 

Iran – in 1968 and 1976 – and Qatar – 1988 and 2011 – have both hosted the tournament twice before, while the other three are competing to stage their first ever Asian Cups. Iran won the competition on both occasions it has hosted.

Earlier this year, Gulf rivals Saudi Arabia and Qatar were also named as the two candidates aiming to host the 2030 Asian Games, as the political enmity between the states continues to spill over into the sporting world.

The two have also recently clashed over the proposed takeover of Premier League side Newcastle United by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, with Yousef Al-Obaidly, chief executive of Qatar-based pay-television broadcaster beIN Media Group, urging authorities in the UK to block the purchase. 

AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, said: “On behalf of the Asian football family, I would like to thank all our member associations for stepping forward to express their desire and for sharing our ambitions to host a world-class stage for our players, teams, officials and fans and I wish all of them the very best in the bidding process.”