AFC asks Australia to increase security for Asian Cup

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has asked Australia to increase security ahead of the Asian Cup which is due to begin next month.

The request comes on the back of three people - two hostages and a gunman - dying following a 16-hour siege at a cafe in Sydney on Monday.

Asia's premier international tournament is set to get under way in Australia on January 9, with Sydney one of five host cities, and the AFC has asked for security measures to be tightened ahead of teams' arrivals.

"The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has offered its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the hostages who lost their lives during the unfortunate crisis in Sydney and its sympathy to those affected by it," a statement read.

"The Confederation has also expressed serious concerns over the safety and security of teams, media and fans during the AFC Asian Cup Australia 2015 following the incident and has asked the Australian Local Organising Committee (ALOC) to increase the security measures around the competition."

Dato' Alex Soosay, AFC general secretary, said that the safety of everyone involved was paramount.

"Thousands of media and fans will be travelling to Australia for the competition apart from 16 teams and their security is our utmost priority," he said.

"We have asked ALOC to provide extra security in team and AFC hotels as well as police escorts for all official activities including training and matches in addition to increase in security across all venues.

"AFC has no doubt that ALOC together with its government will fulfil AFC’s request.

"Australia has successfully hosted many prestigious events in the past but the recent developments cannot be taken lightly.

"I would like to assure the teams, fans and the media that ALOC will do whatever necessary to provide the best security cover around the competition and everyone will enjoy the best-ever AFC Asian Cup."