World Cup hosts Qatar will stage the 2023 Asian Cup, the Asian Football Confederation said, after China withdrew earlier this year because of Covid.
“The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) executive committee has today confirmed the Qatar Football Association (QFA) as the host association for the AFC Asian Cup 2023,” the Malaysia-based body said in a statement on Monday.
China in June 2019 won the bid to host the event but withdrew in May this year because of its “zero-Covid” policy, leaving the AFC scrambling to find a new host for its flagship men’s 24-team football tournament.
The tournament had been due to be held in 10 Chinese cities from June 16 to July 16 next year.
China is the last major economy still trying to stamp out Covid-19 within its borders, through a series of harsh measures involving snap lockdowns, mass testing and travel restrictions.
The Asian Cup is staged every four years. Qatar won the tournament’s last edition, in 2019, which was hosted by the United Arab Emirates.
South Korea and Indonesia were the other two countries that participated in the bidding to host after China’s withdrawal.
Qatar will host the World Cup starting next month.