(ATR) A year after the 2022 Beijing Olympics, China will turn from winter sport to soccer as the country hosts the 2023 Asian Cup finals.
Delegates during the AFC Congress in Paris. (AFC)
The Asian Football Confederation announced China as the winning bid at its congress in Paris on Tuesday.
A voice vote was all that was necessary after South Korea announced last month that it was pulling out of bidding for the tournament.
Indonesia along with Thailand were also initial contenders before cancelling their bids earlier in the process.
“Thank you for your trust and support,” Du Zhaocai, China’s representative on the FIFA Council, told the AFC delegates.
“It’s a great honour for China to be hosting 2023 Asian Cup. You know we are ready and confident we can stage a successful tournament. I look forward to welcoming all of you in China.”
This will be the second time China will host the tournament, having done so in 2004.
The Asian Cup will provide China the opportunity to demonstrate hosting a major soccer event as it looks to make President Xi Jinping’s desire for the country to host a FIFA World Cup a reality. China is among a group of possible bidders for 2030.
The quest for a World Cup has meant billions have been spent to boost the soccer level in the country, and AFC President Sheikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa envisions the Asian Cup as a major contributor for the sport’s growth in China.
“We have seen the rise of the game under the direction and investment of the Chinese government and now we have the chance with this Asian Cup to develop a true legacy for the global game. “ said the AFC President.
Homepage photo: AFC
Written by Greer Wilson.
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