UAE to host 2019 Asian Cup

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed the 2019 Asian Cup will be staged in the United Arab Emirates, following a meeting of its executive committee.

The 2015 third-place finishers will host the tournament for a second time after winning a unanimous vote against the only other final bid from Iran.

Speaking following the meeting in Bahrain, AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa praised the bid from the UAE and acknowledged the high standards Australia set in January.

“I would like to congratulate the UAE Football Association on their successful bid to host the AFC Asian Cup 2019,” he said. “The UAE won the right unanimously."

“The AFC executive committee was convinced by the merits of the UAE bid. I firmly believe that the UAE FA will host a tournament that could match and potentially even surpass the stunning AFC Asian Cup 2015 in Australia that we have all just witnessed.”

The UAE, who last hosted Asia's continental cup in 1996, have proposed to stage the event in three cities: Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al-Ain. 

There will be an increase in the number of participants to 24 teams for its 17th edition, with 16 nations previously competing.

The Socceroos will go into the tournament as defending champions, having claimed the competition for the first time on home soil.

Australia hosted the most watched event in Asian Cup history, with television viewing, attendances and social media engagement all achieving record levels.