Organisers of India’s 2022 Women’s Asian Cup national team football tournament have reworked the venue plan for the event in an effort to help its staging during COVID-19.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) awarded the hosting rights to India in June 2020 and at the time it was planned that the three host stadia would be D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai, Ahmedabad’s EKA Arena and Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

The 37,900-capacity D.Y. Patil Stadium will remain as one of the three stadiums that will stage the Women’s Asian Cup, which is due to take place from January 20 to February 6, but the other two venues have been changed. Mumbai Football Arena – Andheri Sports Complex (pictured) and the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi, Pune are the new destinations.

The AFC and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) said the change was made taking into careful consideration the existing challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and as part of efforts to minimise the travelling time for teams and officials between the venues, whilst ensuring the optimum environment to implement the bio-secure bubble for the tournament.

President of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) and chairman of the LOC, Praful Patel, said: “As the situation evolved, we had to adapt and 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. 

“I am happy that the Maharashtra government is paying special attention to the infrastructure and preparations for the tournament, and is dedicated to making the AFC Women’s Asian Cup a grand success.”

Reigning champions Japan, along with Australia, China and the host nation, have already sealed their places in the finals. A further 28 teams will contest the eight remaining places in qualifying events due to take place from September.

Jordan hosted the most recent edition of the Women’s Asian Cup in 2018.

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