Saudi Arabia has confirmed its bid to host the 2027 Asian Cup.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) held a general meeting in Manama, Bahrain on the 1st local time and selected Saudi Arabia as the host of the 2027 Men’s Asian Cup.
Saudi Arabia, India, Iran, Qatar, and Uzbekistan competed to host the 2027 Asian Cup, but all withdrew and only Saudi Arabia became the sole candidate.
Beyond the Asian Cup, the World Cup, and even the Olympics… Saudi Arabia’s ‘grand dream’
The Asian Cup, Asia’s most prestigious soccer competition, has been held every four years since its first tournament in 1956. The 2019 tournament was held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the 2023 tournament was hosted by China, but was changed to Qatar when it returned the hosting rights.
In addition, with Saudi Arabia acquiring the right to host the 2027 tournament, the Asian Cup will be held in the Middle East for the third time in a row. Korea also entered the competition to host the 2023 tournament when China returned the hosting rights, but was pushed back by Qatar.
Recently, Saudi Arabia has emerged as a ‘big hand’ in the football world with huge oil money at the forefront. It participated in sponsoring the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand in July, and also started to attract the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup.
Furthermore, it is aiming to host the 2030 World Cup. To this end, last month, Pakistan, Mauritius, and Comoros were invited to hold Saudi Arabia’s first women’s football friendly tournament. In addition, by recruiting world-class soccer star Critisano Ronaldo (Portugal), the country is also developing professional soccer.
AFP said, “Saudi Arabia’s goal is to host the Asian Games, Summer Olympics, and even the Winter Olympics by spraying artificial snow beyond soccer, after watching neighboring Qatar host the 2022 World Cup.” 스포츠토토
“Saudi Arabia’s bid to host international sporting events is part of the de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s grand plans to end oil dependence and modernize the Saudi economy,” it said.
Saudi Arabia’s rampage is sports washing? Human Rights Group ‘Repulsion’
However, there is also criticism that Saudi Arabia, which is a monarchy and oppresses the human rights of women and LGBTQ people with strict Islamic law, is trying to wash its negative reputation by putting sports at the forefront.
International human rights group ‘Human Rights Watch’ pointed out that “Saudi Arabia needs to remember that until just a few years ago, women and girls were not allowed to play sports in schools or even watch sports in stadiums.” .
“It would be much better for Saudi Arabia to pursue fundamental human rights reforms than to change its image in the international community through sports washing,” he criticized.
Regarding Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the World Cup earlier, Amnesty International also said, “If human rights are applied as a criterion for a World Cup host country, it is impossible for the World Cup to be held in Saudi Arabia.” urged.
Qatar, which hosted the World Cup for the first time as an Islamic country in the Middle East in November last year, also had to suffer criticism from the international community due to the oppression of women’s and sexual minority rights.