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Four countries express interest in hosting 2023 Asian Cup

The Asian Football Confederation has received expressions of interest from Australia, Indonesia, South Korea and Qatar to host the 2023 edition of its Asian Cup, which had originally been due to take place in China.

The AFC invited all member associations to express their interest in hosting its flagship men’s national team tournament, and four countries have put their names forward.

The bidding regulations were distributed to member associations on June 17, and the four countries have until August 31 to submit their bid documents. The AFC will then evaluate the bids and announce the host nation on October 17.

Australia is already due to co-host next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup with New Zealand. That tournament is due to begin on July 20 and the Asian Cup could be staged later in the year if Football Australia is successful in its bid to host the event. Australia hosted the 2015 Asian Cup, with Sydney’s ANZ Stadium (pictured) one of the venues used.

Qatar is due to host the men’s FIFA World Cup from November 21 to December 18 this year. It last hosted the Asian Cup in 2011.

China gave up hosting rights to the 2023 Asian Cup in May amid the continued challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The competition had been scheduled for next July but the Chinese Football Association informed the AFC that they would not be in a position to host.

China, which is pursuing a ‘zero COVID strategy’, was awarded hosting rights to the Asian Cup back in 2019. The country had achieved several milestones in preparation, including the completion of the Shanghai Pudong Football Stadium.

The Asian Games multi-sport event, which had been scheduled to take place in the Chinese city of Hangzhou in September, was also postponed due to the pandemic situation in the country.

The most recent edition of the Asian Cup took place in the United Arab Emirates in 2019. Qatar defeated Japan in the final to claim its first ever title.

Image: Tommy Silver on Unsplash