South Korea announced that they would be bidding to host the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup. The announcement came after the Korean national team announced they would seek a third time to host the tournament. The 2023 Asian Cup, which will be held June 16-July 2023, will feature 24 national teams, including South Korea, following an expansion of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup. On May 14, 2022, the AFC announced that host countries will not be allowed to host the 2023 AFC Asian Cup because of circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the zero-COVID policy in China. China was initially set to host the 2023 Asian Cup but pulled out of it last month over concerns about COVID-19 following talks between the AFC and Chinese soccer authorities.
The Chinese Football Association (CFA) had formally informed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) that it would be unable to hold the 2023 AFC Asian Cup due to the COVID-19 pandemic raging in China. At the previous AFC Asian Cup 2023 edition in 2019, India as men’s national soccer team started promisingly. Still, it barely missed a place in the knockout stage after conceding a late penalty in the last game of the group stage to Bahrain. A nearly-capacity crowd at the iconic Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata witnessed India as a national football team qualify for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup in style by beating Hong Kong 4-0 on June 14 to clinch top of Group D. India defeated Cambodia and Afghanistan, then secured a commanding victory against Hong Kong to secure a comfortable win in Group D in their third-round AFC Asian Cup qualifying campaign.
Although Malaysia’s national football team featured in an Asian Cup final in 2007, they were the co-hosts alongside Thailand, Indonesia, and Vietnam. China was scheduled to host the 2023 Asian Cup next June and July, but efforts by the Chinese government to implement the Zero Covid policy led to a shift of the 24-team tournament. Australia’s interest could depend on whether the AFC is willing to shift the 2023 Asian Cup from June and July next year, given potential conflicts with the women’s world cup and the higher demand for stadiums for competing sports in the Australian winter.
South Koreas FA looks set to face off with Australia in its hosting bid; the Aussies are joint hosts at the 2023 Women’s World Cup but have expressed strong interest. Neither has confirmed whether Qatar or Saudi Arabia are willing to make a 2023 bid, although they are all closely watching to see who comes forward with 2023 hosting ambitions. Qatar could become one of the best hosts of a 2022 World Cup, given its access to top-class facilities.