China cites pandemic and withdraws as host of 2023 Asian Cup

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — China has withdrawn as host of soccer’s 2023 Asian Cup. It's the latest cancellation of the country’s sports hosting duties during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Asian Football Confederation praises Chinese soccer officials for making “this very difficult but necessary decision in the collective interests of the AFC Asian Cup.” The 24-nation tournament was due to be played in 10 cities in mostly newly built stadiums in June and July next year. China’s withdrawal could let Qatar or Saudi Arabia step up as hosts while both are bidding in a contest to host the 2027 edition.

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