x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

UAE ready to host AFC HQ

The UAE will agree with the demands to host the AFC but it is not clear whether Abu Dhabi or Dubai will be the chosen city.

The UAE will agree to all the demands of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in their bid to persuade them to make the country their new home. The AFC sent invites for applications to all of their 46 member nations to host the new AFC House, along with a three-page document listing their requirements, which include a 30,000sq metre plot of land for free, an interest-free loan, tax exemptions, free use of stadiums and diplomatic status for key confederation officials.

Mohammed Khalfan al Rumaithi, the president of the UAE Football Association, said: "We have submitted our bid and we are ready to meet the demands of the AFC." Rumaithi, the man who convinced Fifa to allow the country to host the 2009 and 2010 Club World Cup, added that he was still unsure whether to offer Abu Dhabi or Dubai as the base for the AFC headquarters. He said: "We have not yet decided on the host city, but both Abu Dhabi and Dubai are ready and meet all the criteria.

"We will make our presentation when we are invited. It will be our honour to have the AFC among us." The UAE submitted their bid on Friday after the AFC president Mohamed bin Hammam announced plans to move out of Malaysia, the Asian football body's home for 43 years. Malaysia have refused to bid, citing the "excessive" demands. The AFC chief will, however, have to convince 33 of their 46 affiliates to sanction the move away from Kuala Lumpur, and a decision is expected by the end of December.

Singapore and Qatar are also in the race to host it. arizvi@thenational.ae