The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has confirmed that China, South Korea and Thailand are all in contention to stage the 2023 Asian Cup, the soccer organisation’s quadrennial national team tournament.
The bids were confirmed at a two-day workshop in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The AFC had previously stated that Indonesia was also in the running to hold the 24-team championship but it was announced at the workshop that the island country is no longer being considered.
The workshop centred on operational matters involved with hosting the event and the AFC also shared with the federations what it expected from them at the next stage of the bidding process.
“Each edition of the competition represents a huge opportunity,” said Dato’ Windsor John, general secretary of the AFC. “The expansion - from 16 to 24 teams from 2019 onwards - into a continent-wide competition will enforce the AFC Asian Cup brand throughout Asia.
“With more countries involved and more fans engaged, brand recognition will increase significantly all over the continent. Together we must make sure that we draw the possible benefit out of this opportunity.”
The 2015 Asian Cup was won by host nation Australia, who beat South Korea 2-1 in the final, and the next edition of the event will take place in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.