The AFC did the only thing they could do, faced with the UAE and Iran as the contenders to host the 2019 Asian Cup by awarding the tournament to the UAE. 

The UAE and other Middle Eastern countries will not be able to host the 2023 tournament on the assumption it is moved to midyear to accommodate the November/December 2022 World Cup – so that meant rewarding UAE now.

The UAE is also better placed for 2019 in many other ways compared with Iran, not least being Iran’s policy on allowing women into stadiums.

It will be the second time the UAE has hosted the tournament. They also did so in 1996 when they lost to Saudi Arabia in the final.

If the UAE’s football continues to develop on the same trajectory that it has over the past four years, they may well be favourites to make the final again and improve their third placing from this year’s Asian Cup. 

The 2019 tournament will also be expanded to 24 teams from its current 16. 

Categories: News | Asia

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