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China withdraws as hosts of AFC Asian Cup 2023 due to surge in Covid cases

Back in 2019, the AFC Extraordinary Congress in Paris named China the hosts of the AFC Asian Cup 2023.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced that the Chinese Football Association (CFA) will not host the AFC Asian Cup 2023 due to the ongoing Covid situation in the country.

Back in 2019, the AFC Extraordinary Congress in Paris named China the hosts of the AFC Asian Cup 2023. The 24-team competition was scheduled to take place in ten Chinese cities from June 16 to July 16, 2023.

Earlier this week, Asian Games 2022, which were set to take place in Hangzhou in September, have also been postponed indefinitely due to China’s pandemic scenario.

AFC in a statement said, “The AFC acknowledges the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the relinquishment by China of its hosting rights.”

During the event’s preparations, the AFC collaborated closely with the CFA and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Local Organising Committee (LOC), and several milestones were met, such as the release of the tournament logo and the unveiling of the newly constructed Shanghai Pudong Football Stadium last year.

“The AFC appreciates that China PR, the CFA and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 LOC have made this very difficult but necessary decision in the collective interests of the AFC Asian Cup 2023, which has also provided the AFC the required time to assess the situation regarding the hosting of the AFC Asian Cup 2023,” the statement added.

The chief Asian footballing body will announce the next steps regarding the hosting of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 in the coming days.

The AFC stated that it will continue to collaborate closely with its commercial partners and stakeholders to plan the next steps.

Meanwhile, the Indian team is contending for a spot in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup and will compete in the final qualifying round which will take place next month in Kolkata.

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