Saudi Arabia has emerged as one of the bidders for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup according to Asian football’s governing body the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).
Australia, Jordan, and Uzbekistan have also submitted Expressions of Interests in hosting the quadrennial tournament.
Saudi Arabia women’s football team only played its first match in February this year but the country will host its first official international women’s tournament if selected for hosting duties of the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup.
The move is seen as the latest attempt by the country to use sports as a way of softening its image in the eyes of the western world.
LIV Golf, a major point of contention in the golfing world, is also bankrolled by the country.
Australia has previously hosted the Women’s Asian Cup in 2006 while Jordan took on the role for the 2018 edition but Uzbekistan has never previously hosted the tournament.
The latest edition of the tournament was played in India in 2022 where China claimed a record-extending ninth Women’s Asian Cup title after overcoming South Korea 3-2 on penalties in the final.
“The AFC will now work with all Bidding Member Associations on the delivery of the necessary bidding documentation in accordance with the bidding process with a decision to be finalized and communicated in 2023,” the AFC said.
Along with a Women’s Asian Cup host, AFC is currently searching for a new venue to stage the men’s tournament as well with China, the previous hosts, backing out due to the coronavirus situation in their country.