Football: Malaysia bids to host 2019 Asian Cup, 10 other countries express interest

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Malaysia is bidding to host the 2019 Asian Cup, looking to edge out 10 other countries interested in holding the region's premier football tournament, an official said Wednesday.

An official with the Football Association of Malaysia said the Southeast Asian nation had started submitting documents to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to support its bid.

"We are bidding for it. The process has begun," he told AFP.

Malaysia, whose national team is currently ranked 164th in the world, previously co-hosted the cup, which takes place every four years, in 2007, together with neighbours Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

AFC said in a statement last month that 11 countries have expressed interest in hosting the cup.

Besides Malaysia, whose team is ranked lower than all its potential rivals, the prospective hosts are Bahrain, China, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Myanmar, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates.

The countries have until June 1 to submit the necessary documents for their bids, the football body said. Site inspections and further paperwork will follow.

The winning bid is expected to be announced in July next year.

Australia is hosting the 2015 Asian Cup, which will take place in January, and will feature 32 games with Japan defending the title they won in Qatar in 2011.

Allegations of match-fixing have long tainted football in Malaysia. Last year, the country's football association suspended 18 youth players and banned a coach for life for fixing matches.