According to Reuters, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on May 14 that China has withdrawn from hosting the 2023 Asian Cup soccer tournament due to the Covid situation.
The Asia soccer governing body stated, [quote] “Following extensive discussions with the Chinese Football Association (CFA), the Asian Football Confederation has been officially informed by the CFA that it would not be able to host the AFC Asian Cup 2023.” [end quote]
China was initially scheduled to host the tournament of 24 national soccer teams from across Asia, in 10 cities from June 16 to July 16, 2023.
AFC did not name the new host to replace China in its statement.
The Asian Cup is hosted every four years. Qatar won the last tournament in 2019 in the United Arab Emirates when defeating Japan in the final match.
Except for the Beijing Winter Olympics, which had finished right before the new outbreak, this is the latest international sporting event to be canceled because of Covid restrictions.
Last week China announced that it would postpone the Asian Games. The event was due to be hosted in Hangzhou in September, until next year.
Another sporting event, the Chinese Formula 1 Grand Prix, has not been held since 2019.
In December 2021, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) chairman suspended all its China future WTA tournaments in response to a sexual assault allegation from Chinese player Peng Shuai against China’s former Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli.
China still carries out its controversial zero – Covid policy with strict lockdown to prevent the virus from spreading nationwide.
Shanghai, the country’s financial hub with 25 million residents, has been under strict lockdown for nearly two months with no sign of easing.