Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Pune to host 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup

The AFC decided to move the continental flagship event for women’s football to Maharashtra in a bid to minimise the risk posed by COVID-19.

By Naveen Peter
Picture by All India Football Federation

The 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India will be played across three venues in Maharashtra, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) confirmed on Tuesday.

The 12-team competition will be held at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, the Mumbai Football Arena in Andheri and the Shri Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune from January 20 to February 6 next year.

According to the initial plans, the event was to be hosted at Navi Mumbai in Maharashtra, Bhubaneswar in Odisha and Ahmedabad in Gujarat.

However, it was moved to a single state taking into consideration the prevailing COVID-19 situation in India. 

“The decision was taken as part of the effort to minimise the travelling time for teams and officials between the venues, whilst ensuring the optimum environment to implement the biomedical bubble for the benefit of all stakeholders,” the AFC said in a statement.

Praful Patel, the president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), welcomed the move.

“As the situation evolved, we had to adapt and the need was to create a bio-secure bubble,” Praful Patel said. 

“Hence, we chose Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune, venues in close geographical proximity with stadiums that have previously hosted major football competitions,” he added.

Apart from hosts India, defending champions Japan, Australia (finalists from the previous edition) and China (third-place at the previous edition) have already sealed their spots for the competition next year.

The race to fill the remaining eight slots will begin in September with the Asian Cup qualifiers getting underway at centralised locations across the continent. 

A total of 28 teams, including Thailand, South Korea and Iran, are in the fray to make it to the main competition in India next year.

The teams are divided into eight groups of three or four sides each with the group winners making it to the Asian Cup in India.

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