Kuala Lumpur: Qatar will stage next year’s Asian Cup in place of original hosts China after seeing off rival bids from South Korea and Indonesia, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Monday.
The continental championships were awarded to China in 2019 but the world’s most populous country relinquished their rights earlier this year as it pursued a zero-COVID policy.
The AFC re-opened the bidding process and the three candidates were considered by the executive committee on Monday.
“Qatar’s capabilities and track record in hosting major international sporting events and their meticulous attention to detail are well admired throughout the globe,” AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement.
“With their existing world-class infrastructure and unrivalled hosting capabilities, we are confident that Qatar will stage a worthy spectacle befitting the prestige and stature of Asia’s crown jewel.” The Gulf state, which will host the World Cup finals from next month, has staged the Asian Cup twice before in 1988 and 2011 and won the last edition in the UAE in 2019.
The 24-team tournament is now likely to be shifted from its original dates in June and July to later in 2023, or early 2024, to ensure matches are not played during the worst of the summer heat.
South Korea had been favourites to be awarded the hosting rights as the country had not staged the finals since 1960, when they won the second of their two Asian titles.
Qatar were one of three nations bidding to stage the 2027 edition of the Asian Cup. The AFC executive committee on Monday shortlisted the bids from India and Saudi Arabia for that tournament.