The Asian Football Confederation announced on Sunday that the next edition of the AFC Asian Cup in 2011 will be hosted by Qatar.
AFC president Mohamed Bin Hammam confirmed that the event would be played in the Gulf state following the organisation’s executive committee meeting in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta, the venue for this year’s Asian Cup final.
Qatar were the sole bidders for the event following the withdrawal of a bid by India and the Iran Football Federation’s failure to submit the official bidding documents.
However, the AFC said that they were impressed by the high quality of the Qatari bid and are confident of the country’s ability to host the Asian continent’s biggest international football tournament.
"Because of the high standards and criteria we are applying for any tournament, it is not possible for every country to host the AFC Asian Cup," said Hammam.
"From tournament to tournament, the standards will continue to go higher and higher and it is up to the host country to ensure that all the measures are in place to host a successful event.
"We need to organise our tournaments in the best environment, we have to ensure that the teams have the best facilities available and that there is good access for fans to come and watch the games.
"These are the sorts of things that a host country must provide."
The AFC president admitted that Australia had also been interested in applying to host the 2011 event.
"Australia were very interested in submitting a bid but due to the rotation of the event, it was decided that the candidates for the 2011 competition would be restricted to the South and Central and West Asian regions," he said.
Hammam also suggested that the event is likely to take place in January due to concerns about the weather in the Middle East during the summer months.
"Immediately after this meeting, we will have to establish an organising committee for the 2011 tournament to decide on these matters but the indication is that it should be played in January," he said.
"On the FIFA calendar, the confederations can host their events in January or July, but as July is the hot season in the Middle East, the tournament cannot be played then."
It is the second time that Qatar has been selected to stage the tournament following its hosting of the 1988 tournament.
As a Qatari himself, Hammam was naturally delighted with the decision.
"Qatar is my home and maybe this will give me a reason to spend more of my time there," he said.
"Hopefully it will be a successful tournament."