United Arab Emirates announced as hosts of …

NNA – The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed that the UAE will host the 2019 Asian Cup after beating off competition from Iran to stage the continent’s premier football tournament.The announcement was made on the AFC’s official Twitter account following its executive committee meeting in Manama, Bahrain, on Monday morning.It is expected that the event in four years’ time will see the tournament increased from 16 nations to 24.Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Oman and Kuwait had all bid for the event, with China and Bahrain withdrawing after showing initial interest.AFC officials visited the UAE last month for final inspections of the proposed stadia, with six AGL grounds put forward as venues across Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.It will be the first time since 1996 that the Emirates have hosted the Asian Cup and the UAE will be hoping for a repeat of their run to the final that year, although they fell just short against Saudi Arabia in the showpiece.================R.H.

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