China to bid for 2023 AFC Asian Cup

BEIJING • China is preparing to bid for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, the continent's biggest football championship, the country's top football authority said as it hopes to one day host the World Cup.

The Chinese Football Association is soliciting input for a possible application to host the tournament, it said in a letter to its members posted on its website.

The bid will require at least six cities and eight stadiums to host a total of 51 matches in the month-long contest, which is held every four years.

China's national football team languish in 84th place in the Fifa world rankings, and it is on the verge of elimination for the 2018 World Cup after a 0-0 draw with Hong Kong in November.

President Xi Jinping has called on the nation to up its game with the goals of hosting and winning a World Cup - a tournament in which it has appeared only once, in 2002.

The drive has seen schools and government organisations looking to promote the game, while Chinese Super League clubs have lured foreign players and coaches with lucrative deals.

China hosted the Asian Cup in 2004 and reached the final, but lost 1-3 to neighbour and rival Japan, triggering a riot by fans.

Cities must have an international airport and at least 10 five-star hotels to be considered for inclusion in the 2023 bid, the CFA statement said.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 01, 2016, with the headline 'China to bid for 2023 AFC Asian Cup'. Print Edition | Subscribe