China appears poised to land hosting rights to the 2023 Asian Cup after the Korean Football Association (KFA) withdrew its bid for the national team football tournament in favour of focusing on its proposed joint proposal with North Korea for the Fifa Women’s World Cup in the same year.
The KFA has informed the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) of its decision, with the continental governing body set to make a choice on the hosting rights on June 4.
China has hosted the Asian Cup on one previous occasion, in 2004, and is now the sole remaining bidder for 2023 after Thailand withdrew from the race in July 2017.
KFA secretary general Chun Hanjin said: “We need to make a choice between the 2023 AFC Asian Cup and the Women’s World Cup. We decided to focus on the Women’s World Cup strategically. In the case of the Women’s World Cup, Fifa and the government will actively support the joint hosting of the two Koreas.”
This year’s Asian Cup was expanded to 24 teams for the first time. It ran from January 5 to February 1 in the United Arab Emirates, with Qatar defeating Japan 3-1 in the final.
Fifa last month confirmed that all nine international federations which showed interest in hosting the 2023 Women’s World Cup met its deadline for formal expressions of interest, including the joint bid from North and South Korea.