Saudi Arabia has won the right to host the 2027 Asian Cup after India dropped out of the race, according to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

The All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Saudi Arabian Football Federation (SAFF) were the only two bidders for the 2027 edition of the competition after being shortlisted in October, which makes the Arabian nation the de facto host after India’s withdrawal.

Qatar was also in the running but dropped out after their successful bid for the 2023 edition after China, the original host, had to back out due to their strict zero-covid policy.

AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey explained that India dropped out to¬†focus on “building the foundations of proper footballing structure”

“The (Executive Committee) has decided that the overall strategy of the federation currently remains on focusing on the fundamental goals to strengthen our football at every level from grassroots to youth development.”

India recently hosted the Women’s U17 World Cup.

Saudi Arabia meanwhile has won the title three times but has never served as the host of the tournament.

The country can capitalise on the footballing boom in the Arabian region with Qatar currently hosting the FIFA World Cup where Saudi Arabia caused one of the biggest upsets by beating Argentina.

Saudi Arabia is also in the running for the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup.

The AFC Congress will formally announce them as hosts in February next year when it meets in Bahrain.