Mumbai, Pune to host AFC Women's Asian Cup 2022
The 2022 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Asian Cup in India will be held in Mumbai and Pune after the AFC dropped Bhubaneswar and Ahmedabad as venues to minimize participants' traveling time and ensure an "optimum environment" for a bio-secure bubble. Mumbai Football Arena at Andheri Sports Complex, Mumbai, and Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune, have been chosen as the new venues.
Efforts to minimize traveling time for teams, officials: AFC
"The decision was confirmed taking into careful consideration the existing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic," the AFC stated in a press release. The body said the decision was part of "efforts to minimize the traveling time for teams and officials between the venues, whilst ensuring the optimum environment to implement the Biomedical Bubble for the benefit of all stakeholders."
Women's Asian Cup 2022 is scheduled from January 20, 2022
"The 37,900-capacity DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai will remain as one of the three stadiums that will stage the AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022 which is on schedule to take place from January 20 to February 6, 2022," the AFC said.
Need was to create a bio-secure bubble: Praful Patel
Speaking about the change in venue, President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Chairman of the Local Organizing Committee, Praful Patel said, "As the situation evolved, we had to adapt... the need was to create a bio-secure bubble." "Hence, we chose Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Pune, venues in close geographical proximity with stadiums that have previously hosted major football competitions," he said.
Japan, Australia, China PR, India sealed their places in Finals
Patel also thanked the governments of Odisha and Gujarat, states that were slated to host the tournament previously. Japan, Australia, China PR, and hosts India have already sealed their places in the Finals, and the race to join the quartet will take center stage from September this year when 28 teams across eight groups begin their quest to clinch the eight remaining places.
Chinese Taipei, Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Laos in Group A
Three-time champions Chinese Taipei, Bahrain, Turkmenistan, and Laos have been drawn in Group A, while Group B will see Vietnam, Tajikistan, Maldives, and Afghanistan compete for a place in the Finals. Asian powerhouses and three-time title holders DPR Korea are in Group C alongside Singapore, Iraq, and Indonesia with Myanmar, United Arab Emirates, Guam, and Lebanon completing the line-up in Group D.