These documents will clarify each of the quintet’s ability to stage such a competition in 2027 and although next month offers the opportunity for these five nations to prove their worth, no ultimate decision will be taken until 2021.

A process that will be delayed by at least six months, as the original date to the reveal the successful bidder was previously this June and with COVID-19 still having a tight grip on the continent, it was subsequently announced that any potential hosts would be afforded more time to plan their bids.

Of course, the AFC is one of the more fascinating confederations in terms of Geography, as it stretches from the Arab nations in the West of the vast region and all the way over to Australia in the extreme East.

This landmass always brings its own issues in terms of tournament planning, as there are so many time zones to take into consideration and with the five nations that have desired to be the 2027 hosts of the Asian Cup, such a geographical spread is also on display.

With three bids from the Arab region set to be forthcoming, there will certainly be an interesting sub-plot in all of this and especially when you consider the rather fraught relationship between Saudi Arabia and Qatar at present.

While in terms of the latter of the two, they will feel that with the FIFA World Cup coming to town five years prior, they are in the best place to make use of their newly constructed stadia and infrastructure in 2027.

Then again, that’s not to say Iran should be overlooked either and having not hosted the tournament since 1976, the AFC may decide to look elsewhere than a nation that will soon stage football’s biggest global festival.

In addition to this, Saudi Arabia will join both India and Uzbekistan as the trio of bids who have never successfully staged the Asian Cup finals (Qatar had the honour back in 2011) and now could be an ideal time to reach a new frontier within the continent.

With China being handed the baton in 2023, this means the East of the region is ready to step up to the plate three years from now and because of this, it may diminish the chances of certainly India and perhaps Uzbekistan to a lesser degree.

Although any interest from India and Uzbekistan cannot be ruled out, it does stand to reason that the West of the region is then handed a turn in due course and this only strengthens the hands of Iran, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia.

However, location does not give them an immediate pass and if their respective bids are not up to scratch, the AFC will have no concerns in handing it over to either of what can currently be considered the two outside entrants.

Whoever is the eventual successful party, they will then have to welcome 23 other nations to their home and although a global pandemic is doing its best to halt international football at present, one hopes this is nothing more than a distant memory by the time we reach 2027.

Written by Dan Tracey

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