The 2019 Asian Cup in the UAE has been expanded to incorporate Sharjah along with Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain and will involve eight stadia instead of six, it was agreed on Tuesday.
This follows the first meeting of the executive committee of the continental football tournament, which was held at the Yas Viceroy Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
Group games will be held in Sharjah, it was announced, as per the directives of Shaikh Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser, Vice-Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Honorary President of the UAE Football Association, and Shaikh Nahyan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council and Chairman of the Asia Cup 2019 Higher Local Organising Committee.
The Asian Cup was last held in the UAE in 1996, when Saudi Arabia defeated the hosts in the final, via a penalty shootout.
Taking place in January 2019, alongside the two unnamed stadia hosting games, the following venues will stage the event: Zayed Sports City and Mohammad Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi; Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium and Khalifa International Stadium in Al Ain; Dubai’s stadium under construction in Dubai Sports City; and the Dubai International Cricket Ground.
The UAE was awarded the hosting rights for the 2019 event after a meeting of the AFC in Bahrain in March.
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