Saudi 2027 leadership meets with AFC President in Bahrain

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A delegation of Saudi Arabia’s bid team to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027 today delivered its official Bid Book to the AFC President Shaikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa and AFC General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John, in the President’s home country of Bahrain.

With COVID-19 restrictions preventing the Saudi delegation from being at the AFC Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, the bid team were pleased to have the opportunity to present the bid book to the AFC President and General Secretary in person.

Among those representing the Saudi 2027 bid were Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) President Yasser Almisehal, SAFF Vice President and AFC Executive Committee member Khalid Althebity, as well as SAFF Board Member Ahmed Eid Al Harbi and the SAFF General Secretary Ibrahim Alkassim.

The Bid Book was presented to the AFC President alongside a hologram of Sports Minister HRH Prince Abdulaziz, who introduced the key messages of the bid.

Under the slogan ‘Forward for Asia’, the Saudi 2027 bid seeks to use the Asian Cup in 2027 as a platform to provide new and unique opportunities for the AFC’s 47 Member Associations to build the profile of football in their countries.

The meeting with the AFC leadership follows on from yesterday’s announcement of a brand new sponsor for the bid, Saudi Arabian Airlines (SAUDIA), which together with a highly successful bid engagement campaign, #PlayItForward, have indicated unprecedented levels of preparation and support for what would be the first ever Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia, should the hosting rights be awarded to the Kingdom.

AFC President Shaikh Salman said, “We could witness five Member Associations submitting bids to host the AFC Asian Cup 2027, which demonstrates the ever-growing status of this competition and how attractive it is both technically and commercially to potential hosts.”

Yasser Almisehal, President of SAFF, said, “We are very grateful to Shaikh Salman Bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa for taking the time to meet with us in person to receive our Bid Book. Saudi 2027 is about the future of Asian football. While our Bid Book provides an overview for how we will host the best possible AFC Asian Cup from a technical perspective, it also includes a clear overview of our vision for leaving a lasting legacy for all of Asian football. We will ensure that every AFC Member Association is included in the tournament, whether it is in the preparation in the years leading up, through football and knowledge exchanges or further growth opportunities, Saudi 2027 is ready to host an incredible event. We look forward to continuing to share our plans over the coming months.”

SAFF General Secretary Ibrahim Alkassim added, “With our focus on providing a new experience, a new exchange and a new expansion for all of the AFC’s Member Associations, our bid to host the AFC Asian Cup is firmly rooted in opening up new horizons for Asian football. Football is an important part of life for our population of almost 34 million people, and we are determined to make sure that the opportunity of hosting the Asian Cup for the first time in our history will provide so many benefits, in Saudi Arabia and beyond. As a bid, we are greatly encouraged by the feedback that we have received from across Asia and can’t wait to continue to develop our plans in line with our vision of ‘Forward for Asia’.”

The decision for the host of the AFC Asian Cup 2027 is due to made in 2021.