Australia host Asian Cup

Australia to host 2015 Asian Cup
By Reuters

06/01/2011 at 02:58Updated 06/01/2011 at 03:03

The muted bidding process to host the 2015 Asian Cup was concluded on Wednesday when AFC President Mohammed Bin Hammam confirmed sole bidders Australia had been selected.

The lack of competition to Australia, who were granted a six-month extension last year to finalise their bid book to host the 16-team premier Asian tournament, was not a concern to Bin Hammam.

"In 2007 we were having talks with Australia, India and Uzbekistan and Iran and today of course, if we re-open the bid, I am sure there will are four, five or six countries bidding," Hammam explained.

"We have a lot of interest in Asian Cup and I have been asked personally by so many member associations to re-open the bid for 2015," the Qatari said from his hotel ahead of the 2011 tournament.

The decision came five years after the Socceroos left the Oceania Football Confederation to join the Asian Football Confederation.

The announcement provided some consolation for Australia, who were aggrieved after missing out to Qatar in the vote to host the 2022 World Cup last month.

"Australians are about to see just how big this tournament is with an expected television audience of more than one billion watching sixteen quality teams compete from some of the biggest nations in Asia including Japan, Korea, India and China," Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy said.

"It is a great coup to host this event and it will be a catalyst for taking the game forward in Australia over the next few years."

The 2011 Asian Cup kicks off on Friday with hosts Qatar playing Uzbekistan.