Govt must support single host for 2011 Asian Cup

Countries bidding to host the 2011 AFC Asian Cup must guarantee government support or face swift elimination, Asian Football Confederation President Mohamed Bin Hammam has announced. Qatar, Iran and India are seeking the right to stage the event, with the winner to be announced on 28 July, the day before the 2007 Asian Cup final in Jakarta.

"We have three candidates and definitely we have certain criteria and standards that must be met and this is a must. If any country cannot meet these requirements we would have no hesitation in eliminating them. They need to guarantee government support of the event as well as ensure proper infrastructure and security. The country's national association must also show an eagerness to organise the tournament efficiently," Hammam told Nazvi Careem of Reuters.

The president's call came just two months before the start of the Asian Cup, which is being co-hosted by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam and has been beset by problems over the past three years. Hammam is determined to avoid another headache in 2011, admitting that the problems leading up to the 2007 Asian Cup had tarnished the tournament's image. "There will only be one country from now on," he said.

"I cannot compromise the image of this competition any more. The winning country has to meet very high standards."