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Saudi Arabia increased its influence in world football on Wednesday, winning a seat on the FIFA Council and being confirmed as the host of the 2027 Asian Cup.

An election victory at the Asian Football Confederation’s annual meeting bolstered long-standing speculation that Cristiano Ronaldo could arrive to play in the Saudi league last month and host the World Cup in 2030 or 2034. Continue.

The president of the Saudi Football Federation, Yasser Armishehar, was one of six Asian football officials elected by AFC members to represent FIFA’s decision-making committee until 2027. Saudi Arabia was the sole candidate to host the Asian Championships.

Sheikh Hamad Al Thani, president of the Qatar Football Federation, whose next Asian Cup will be held in January 2024, was also elected to the FIFA Executive Board. Sheikh Hamad got his 40 votes from his 45 federations and Alisehar got his 35 votes.

The 37-member FIFA Council is chaired by Executive Board President Gianni Infantino, who attended the election meeting in Bahrain.

The election results confirm that Saudi Arabia and Qatar are at the center of football politics in Asia, with the AFC presidency slated to become vacant in 2027.

Bahrain’s AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa was re-elected Wednesday by applause for the final four-year term in a position he has held since 2013.

Japan’s Kozo Tashima and Philippines’ Mariano Araneta retain their seats on the FIFA Council, which pays a $250,000 salary in Zurich, while newcomer Hamidin Bin Mohd Amin, leader of the Malaysian Football Federation, wins. Did.

Losing out were China’s Du Jiaokai and South Korea’s Jeong Mong-gyu, descendants of a family that owns Hyundai, who lost their seats in 2019.

The election for a protected FIFA Council seat for women was won by Kanya Keomany of Laos.

Later in the meeting, it was confirmed that Saudi Arabia’s bid to host the 2027 Asian Cup had not been opposed. India withdrew its bid in December.

Announcing the bid on stage, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Sports Abdulaziz bin Turki Al Faisal called the 2027 tournament “a transformative moment in our collective football history”.

Saudi Arabia has won the Asian Cup three times in 1984, 1988 and 1996, but has never hosted a tournament.

Ronaldo’s signing of Al Nasr to a two-and-a-half-year deal boosts the kingdom’s profile in football and speculative bids to jointly host the 2030 World Cup on three continents with Africa’s Egypt and Europe’s Greece is tied to

That would require Qatar to return the tournament to Asia and the Arabian Gulf just eight years after hosting the 2022 edition. A bid in 2034 may be more realistic.

FIFA is expected to let more than 200 member federations choose the 2030 host next year.

Spain and Portugal are currently planning their European bid for the 2030 World Cup, along with Ukraine. There are also plans for four South American candidatures, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, who hosted the Games 100 years ago in 1930. Be expected.

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