Thailand withdraws from bidding race for 2023 Asian Cup

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced that Thailand has withdrawn from the race to host the 2023 edition of the Asian Cup, leaving South Korea and China in contention to stage the national team event.

The AFC said in a statement that the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) had notified the continental governing body of its decision to withdraw. No reason was given for the withdrawal.

Thailand was confirmed by the AFC earlier this month as one of three nations in contention to stage the event, alongside China and South Korea. Indonesia had also been in contention but is no longer in the running.

Thailand’s withdrawal follows a two-day workshop earlier this month between bidding member associations and the AFC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where operational matters involved with hosting the event were discussed.

The 2015 Asian Cup was staged in Australia, with the next edition of the event due to take place in the United Arab Emirates in 2019.

The UAE held off competition from Iran to land hosting rights to the tournament, which will feature 24 teams for the first time, expanding from the traditional 16. Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Dubai and Sharjah have been confirmed as the host cities.