Saudi Arabia submits official bid for AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026

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In another historic milestone for women’s football in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom has submitted its bid to host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026.

Saudi Arabia’s move to bid for the upcoming AFC Women’s Asian Cup builds on its expression of interest earlier this year and exemplifies the nation’s efforts to unlock untapped potential and opportunities for women and girls across Asia.

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In the event of a successful bid to host the competition, Saudi Arabia will play a vital role in advancing women’s leadership in sport at home and abroad.

The AFC representatives welcomed the SAFF delegation commissioned to deliver the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2026 bidding documents today at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was represented by Dona Rajab, the first assistant coach of the Saudi Arabian women’s national football team, Raghad Helmi, a professional player and a member of the Saudi Arabian national team and Al Shabab Club, and Marya Baghaffar, the youngest of the delegates at 14 years of age is a youth player training at the Regional Training Center.

The regional training centers are considered one of SAFF’s important channels to develop talented youth and promote women’s participation.

Yasser Almisehal, President of SAFF, commented: “The future of women's football in Saudi Arabia is bright and we are committed to growing the game here and throughout Asia. More and more young girls are playing football in this country and we want to inspire them further. Hosting the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2026 would be a great occasion for our players and would be made memorable by the passion of our fans.”

Monika Staab, manager of the Saudi Arabian women’s national team, added: “This is an opportunity to bring the tournament to life, inspire a generation, and turbo-charge the continued growth of women’s football. We see this as a chance to improve technical performance and show the world our homegrown talent.”

In the last three years, there has been significant investment in grassroots player development, competitions, coaching and more, including establishing the first women’s national team last year, followed by the inaugural women’s football league and girls’ school league.

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