China cites pandemic and withdraws as host of 2023 Asian Cup

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — China withdrew as host of soccer’s 2023 Asian Cup on Saturday within the newest cancellation of the nation’s sports activities internet hosting duties in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Asian Football Confederation praised Chinese soccer officers for making “this very difficult but necessary decision in the collective interests of the AFC Asian Cup.”

The 24-nation match was as a result of be performed in 10 cities in largely newly constructed stadiums in June and July of subsequent 12 months.

China’s withdrawal might let Qatar or Saudi Arabia step up as hosts whereas each are bidding in a contest to host the 2027 version. India and Iran are additionally candidates for the 2027 version with a call anticipated early subsequent 12 months.

Qatar has stadiums in place to host the 2022 World Cup kicking off in November. However, a June 2023 begin for the Asian Cup may very well be unlikely due to the acute warmth within the Qatari summer time, making early 2024 a greater choice.

The quadrennial Asian Cup is historically performed in January and February. Qatar (2011) and Australia (2015) hosted the match when it was performed in January, whereas the 2019 occasion within the United Arab Emirates was held from Jan. 5 to Feb. 1.

Qatar is the defending champion after it upset Japan 3-1 within the 2019 last to earn the nation’s first main soccer title.

China was as a result of host the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou in September however that was postponed together with almost all worldwide sports activities occasions within the nation. China did host the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing although below a strict lockdown for athletes and officers with few followers in a position to attend.

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