Saudi denies exclusion from 2019 Asian Cup bid

Football official refutes dispute over policy to deny entrance for single unaccompanied women
Saudi denies exclusion from 2019 Asian Cup bid
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 04 Sep 2013 03:05 PM

Saudi Arabia has denied being excluded from the bidding process to host the Asian Cup in 2019 over its policy to deny entrance to the country for single unaccompanied women.

The Saudi Press Agency quoted Adnan Al Moaibed, spokesman and board member of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation (SAFF) as saying that the country is still in contention for the bid.

The Gulf kingdom is competing with the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Iran and Thailand, after China dropped out of the process, news agency WAM said.

In a statement issued after a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Saudi Arabia Football Federation, Al Moaibed said they had received an invitation to participate in a workshop taking place in Kuala Lumpur later this month for countries that had applied to host the prestigious tournament.

Last month, local daily Al Sharq quoted an unnamed official as saying that although Saudi Arabia had the capability of organising the finals, the issue surrounding female supporters was "crucial".

“Several countries have companies that organise trips for the games and these invariably include women. The problem is that Saudi Arabia does not allow women who do not have male relatives with them to enter the country,” the official reportedly told the paper.

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