China was confirmed as the host of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 at the AFC Extraordinary Congress here on Tuesday. The bidding started back in 2016, when China, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand expressed their interest in hosting the quadrennial tournament.
After South Korea dropped its bid last month, China was set to stage the 2023 edition of the Asian Cup as the sole bidder, and it was confirmed during the Extraordinary Congress held in the French capital, reports Xinhua news agency. “This is an important moment for football in Asia and beyond. Football has a chance to unlock the potential that exists in the world’s most populous country,” the AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa addressed his congratulations to China and the Chinese Football Association (CFA).
“Football has unique functions of fostering sports culture, promoting social and economic development, and advancing a nationwide fitness program. Hosting the Asian Cup has played a necessary role in promoting football in China, and the competition has provided a platform for that,” Du Zhaocai, acting president of the CFA, told Xinhua after the Extraordinary Congress. “It’s an excellent platform and opportunity for us to improve our sporting level and promoting the sport nationwide, including youth training and social football,” he added.
Lin Xiaohua, member of CFA executive committee, made a presentation to the attendees about China’s bid for the tournament in terms of vision, economy, culture, infrastructure and transportation. “15 years ago, we had the honor of hosting the 2004 AFC Asian Cup in China, proving to the world that China is the ideal host of this prestigious event. After 19 years, we want to reaffirm our full commitment to the Asian football that we welcome the Asian Cup back to China,” said Lin. “Our vision is to bring the game to more places, more people and bring more media exposure and create more excitement,” he added.
China last hosted the Asian Cup in 2004, reaching the final of that year’s tournament. At the most recent edition of the tournament earlier this year, China advanced to the quarterfinals, where they lost 3-0 to Iran.