Soccer-UAE plan bid to become home of Asian confederation
BANGKOK Oct 30 (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates will submit a bid to give a new home to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), which is eager to move after a series of squabbles with host country Malaysia.
UAE will put forward the capital Abu Dhabi in its bid, ending speculation that the multi-million dollar Dubai Sports City, home to the International Cricket Council, might also host the AFC.
"We have told the AFC we would welcome their headquarters in Abu Dhabi," Mohamed Yusuf Abdullah, secretary-general of the UAE Football Association, told Reuters on Thursday.
"I think we would be the ideal hosts for the AFC," he added.
Fellow Gulf state Qatar on Wednesday confirmed its interest, saying it was optimistic it could meet most of the AFC's requirements, which include tax breaks, interest-free loans and free use of stadiums.
The bids are likely to increase tensions among the AFC's 46 member nations, many of which are vehemently against a move, especially to the Gulf.
The AFC's Qatari president, Mohamed Bin Hammam, has lost patience with Kuala Lumpur after a series of disputes, including its reluctance to reschedule a visit by Manchester United during the 2007 Asian Cup, the AFC's biggest tournament.
Kuala Lumpur has been the AFC's home since it was created 43 years ago but Malaysia is refusing to bid to remain hosts because of the AFC's long list of demands.
Any move, however, requires the support of 70 percent of Asian countries, which Malaysian soccer bosses say the AFC will not get. (Editing by John O'Brien)
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