The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) member associations yesterday confirmed China as the hosts for the AFC Asian Cup 2023 at the AFC Extraordinary Congress in Paris.
The unanimous decision marks the second time the Asian showpiece event will be played in China who also hosted the 13th edition in 2004 when the tournament was expanded to 16 teams for the first time.
Since then, Asia’s flagship national team competition has grown to 24 teams with the UAE staging the biggest-ever edition earlier this year, which broke all digital media engagement and TV viewership records.
In his address to the AFC member associations, AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said, “Let me be the first to congratulate the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Football Association on being awarded the AFC Asian Cup 2023.
“This is an important moment for football in Asia and beyond. Football now has a chance to unlock the potential that exists in the world’s most populous country.
“We have seen the rise of the game under the direction and investment of the Chinese government. Now we have the chance, with this Asian Cup, to develop a true legacy for the global game.
“Hosting the AFC Asian Cup will provide China with great facilities and infrastructure to stage football tournaments.
“It will provide inspiration for tens of millions of children. The Asian Cup can provide a launch pad for the great Chinese football teams of the future.”
“And more importantly can place football as the number one sport in the country.
“Congratulations again to the Chinese FA and the AFC looks forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”
The Chinese FA’s bid was the only one presented at the congress with three other member associations – football association of Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea – initially submitting their interest before confirming their withdrawals at the later stages of the bidding process.