Soccer News – China will NOT host 2023 AFC Asian Cup – It’s Beijing

China will no longer host the 2023 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Asian Cup, a key date in the Asian football calendar.

A statement posted on the official website of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 indicates that a new host country has not been decided yet.

He also acknowledged the “exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic” and that “several milestones have been achieved, including the launch of the tournament logo and the unveiling of the new Shanghai Pudong Football Stadium last year.”

China has continued to seek “dynamic zero COVID” which seeks to eliminate the spread of the virus rather than “living with it”.

Host cities for tournament matches were to include Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Dalian, Qingdao, Xiamen and Suzhou.

Assuming China still pursues ‘dynamic zero COVID’ at competition time in 2023, it is plausible that a ‘closed loop’ for competitors, coaches and some other staff has been implemented – likely similar to that implemented during the competition. Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in February and March 2022.

Setting up a “closed loop” environment in multiple cities spread across different regions of China would likely have been a significant logistical challenge, but we can only speculate on that.

“Zero-COVID” means that a number of other international sporting events in China have been canceled or postponed, such as the Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 (postponed), the FISU World University Games Chengdu 2021 (postponed) and the Asian Youth Games scheduled to be held in Shantou, Guangdong Province (cancelled).

READ MORE: Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games postponed

China previously hosted the AFC Asian Cup in 2004. The first AFC Asian Cup was held in Hong Kong in 1956, before the territory was handed over to China.

China have never won the competition, although they have enjoyed some success, having finished second in 1984 and 2004.

When it comes to football in China, much of the attention lately has focused on the difference between the country’s men’s and women‘s teams. The former failed to qualify for the Qatar 2022 World Cup after losing their last group qualifier against Oman.

READ MORE: Chinese men’s soccer team lose final World Cup qualifier to Oman

Meanwhile, the latter became champions of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India after beating South Korea 3-2 in the final of the competition. The win sparked a debate over equal pay between the two teams.

READ MORE: Chinese soccer heroines spark equal pay debate

Although the competition is no longer held in China, there is no reason why it should not yet attract the attention of football fans. Moreover, it can give an indication of the chances of Asian nations for the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

[Cover image via Weibo/@新浪体育视频]

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