The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced that the 2023 Asian Cup will be hosted by Qatar.
As the tournament faces a likely shift to 2024 to avoid serious heat conditions, the country was chosen over bids from South Korea and Indonesia at an executive committee meeting last week.
AFC President, Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, said: “Qatar’s capabilities and track record in hosting major international sporting events and their meticulous attention to detail are well admired throughout the globe.
“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 country, which is set to hold the finals of this year’s World Cup, pursues its hosting portfolio in successfully bidding for the 24-team AFC competition. The Gulf Arab state has also staged the Asian Cup twice before in both 1988 and 2011.
The news of hosting the World Cup alone sparked controversy surrounding human rights concerns. Some fans were also eager to learn of the country’s ‘strict alcohol policy’ when it comes to attending matches.
For the Asian Cup, South Korea had been the favourite to be awarded the rights as the country had not staged the finals since 1960 and subsequently, the Korean Football Association (KFA) wrote an apologetic statement:
“We thought that we had no problem in hosting the event. But we had to face fierce competition as Qatar jumped into the race with rich financial, human and material resources.”
Qatar was also one of three nations bidding to host the 2027 edition of the Asian Cup after Iran and Uzbekistan withdrew their interest.