Shanghai will host the opening ceremony and final of the 2021 Fifa Club World Cup, and Beijing will host the opening ceremony and final of the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, according to Chinese media reports.
The other cities staging Club World Cup matches in June and July 2021 are Tianjin, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Shenyang, Jinan, Hangzhou and Dalian. China was appointed host of the inaugural edition of the newly-expanded Club World Cup last October.
The other cities staging 2023 Asian Cup matches are Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi’an, Dalian, Qingdao, Xiamen and Suzhou.
Chinese sports authorities have begun preparatory work ahead of the country hosting the two tournaments, according to Gou Zhongwen, the head of the State General Administration of Sport. Gou said at a meeting in Beijing on Tuesday that both events will be platforms to showcase China’s sports reforms: “We need to set up the organizing committee soon, and facilitate the construction of venues. Meanwhile, we will work closely with Fifa and AFC to present great events.”
The two tournaments are important milestones for China as it attempts to grow its football industry and increase its competitiveness on the pitch. The Chinese government and private industry have been investing heavily in the sport as part of plans to grow the wider sports industry. Football is a particular focus as it is a favoured sport of President Xi Jinping, who wants the country to host the Fifa World Cup in the near future.