S. Korea, Australia, Qatar express interest in hosting 2023 Asian Cup

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South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, and Qatar have submitted expressions of interest to replace China as hosts of next year’s Asian Cup, the Asian Football Confederation said on Monday.

The deadline for the four associations to submit their bid documents has been set for August 31, and the AFC’s executive committee will announce the new host on October 17, it said.

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China was due to host the 24-team event, scheduled for June and July next year, but the country’s efforts to follow a zero-COVID-19 policy resulted in it being moved.

South Korea won the inaugural Asian Cup in 1956 and retained the trophy as hosts four years later -- the only time they staged the finals. The country has not staged a major soccer tournament since co-hosting the World Cup with Japan in 2002.

Australia, Asian Cup winners in 2015, said a final decision to bid would be contingent upon scheduling and “significant” government funding.

Australia already has a busy 2023 as co-hosts of next year’s Women’s World Cup with New Zealand which starts on July 20.

“Our preference would be to host in Februay 2024 so we are not clashing with the FIFA WWC 2023,” a Football Australia spokesperson said.

“We are liaising with governments at all levels to gauge interest levels before contemplating a bid, as any events of this stature require significant government funding and support.”

Qatar will stage the men’s World Cup this year from November 21 to December 18. They have hosted the Asian Cup twice, in 1988 and 2011, and won the tournament in 2019.

Indonesia were one of four co-hosts of the 2007 Asian Cup.

Football Australia added that it had also expressed interest in hosting the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup, with a final decision to bid due by next March.

Australia were knocked out of the quarter-finals of the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup won by China and hosted by India in January-February.

Read more: Saudi Arabia makes strong bid to host Asian Cup in 2027 with promise to boost sport

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