Mohammed Alburayk of Saudi Arabia in action during the AFC Asian Cup (Photo by Koki Nagahama/Getty Images)
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) has submitted an application to host the 2027 edition of the Asian Cup national team tournament.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has begun receiving applications from national federations looking to host its showpiece event, which takes place every four years.
The SAFF will now present a bid file that will be supported by sporting events the country has held over the past two years, such as football’s Supercoppa Italiana, the heavyweight boxing match between Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr., and the Formula E electric car-racing series.
SAFF president Yasser bin Hassan Al-Mishal said that a specialised committee will be formed to work on the bid file.
The AFC said in December that it would look to appoint hosts for the 2027 Asian Cup “as soon as possible” to allow for more preparation time.
The most recent edition of the Asian Cup was held last year in the United Arab Emirates, with Qatar defeating Japan in the final to win the tournament for the first time. Last year’s tournament featured 24 teams for the first time instead of 16.
China was confirmed as the host nation of the 2023 edition last year. The tournament will take place across 10 host cities: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Dalian, Qingdao, Xiamen and Suzhou.
Sports rights-holders have been called out in recent months for hosting events in Saudi Arabia, with Yousef Al-Obaidly, chief executive of beIN Media Group, a vocal critic.
BeIN has been hit hard by the emergence of beoutQ, a Saudi-Arabia based pirate broadcasting service, and Al-Obaidly last October cited Italy’s Serie A and the Spanish Football Association (RFEF) as two rights-holders who “continue to see no issue with hosting their flagship Super Cup games in the very country that has been stealing the commercial rights of all their broadcast partners”.