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Mon 30 Jul 2007 12:40 AM

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Qatar to host 2011 Asian cup

Asian Football Confederation names Qatar as host of the next Asian Cup, likely to be held in January 2011.

Qatar has been named by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) as the host of the next Asian Cup, to be held in 2011.

The Gulf state was the only country to submit a formal bid for the competition after the withdrawal of bids from India and Iran before the deadline in May.

However, it had to satisfy the AFC of its ability to stage the tournament before being confirmed as host.

According to AFC policy, only countries from West Asia were allowed to bid, but the organisation said it would have opened the bidding process had Qatar's proposal failed to meet the required standards.

AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam, a Qatari himself, said “Because of the high standards and criteria we are applying for any tournament, it is not possible for every country to host the AFC Asian Cup.”

The competition is likely to take place in January 2011 rather than July, to avoid excessive temperatures, however the date could lead to conflicts around European league players’ commitments.

Bin Hamman said he was confident of players’ availability since January was one of the two windows provided by world soccer body FIFA for continental championships.

"On the FIFA calendar, the confederations can host their events in January or July, but as July is the hot season in the Middle East the tournament cannot be played then” he said.

Qatar hosted the tournament in 1998 and joins Iran as the only countries to stage the event on more than one occasion.

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