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Japan ‘speaks’ about hosting the 2023 Asian Cup

31 May 2022 | 08:37 | Football


FILE PHOTO: A man wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) walks past an AFC Asian Cup billboard, as he steps out of a makeshift nucleic acid testing site amid the coronavirus outbreak ( COVID-19) broke out in Beijing, China May 14, 2022. REUTERS / Carlos Garcia Rawlins

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) walks past an AFC Asian Cup billboard, as he steps out of a makeshift nucleic acid testing site amid the coronavirus outbreak ( COVID-19) broke out in Beijing, China May 14, 2022. REUTERS / Carlos Garcia Rawlins

TOKYO — The Japan Football Association (JFA) has been informally approached about the possibility of replacing China as the host of next year’s Asian Cup, President Kozo Tashima told Nikkan Sports.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced last Saturday that China has withdraw from hosting the 24-team continental championshipciting the COVID-19 situation in the country.

“We didn’t understand,” Tashima told the newspaper, without giving further details.

“If Japan can host, there’s no doubt that it will be very interesting.”

JFA was not immediately available for comment.

Japan has the stadium infrastructure to host the tournament in June and July next year, having co-hosted the World Cup in 2002, the global rugby tournament in 2019 and the Olympic football tournament in 2019. last.

Other potential hosts such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Australia will need the tournament to be rescheduled to late 2023 or early 2024.

Qatar, the country that will host the World Cup later this year, and Saudi Arabia will be annoyed by the summer heat, while Australia co-hosts the Women’s World Cup in July and August 2023.

Last year’s Tokyo Olympics were held in a biosecurity bubble with limited numbers of locals over fears athletes and officials would spread the new coronavirus.

Japan said on Tuesday, however, that it would begin conducting “Experimental travel” in the form of package tours limited to May as a way of gathering information before the country reopens fully to tourism.

Tourists have not been allowed into Japan since the country introduced strict border control measures in 2020 at the start of the pandemic.

Japan has won the Asian Cup on a record four times and previously hosted the tournament in 1992, when only eight teams competed.

An official from the Korean FA said they had a “brief briefing” after China gave up hosting rights but did not have enough time to host a world-class tournament in the country.

“When we signed up for the 2023 Asian Cup last year, we had quite a bit of time, but this Asian Cup is only next year and it can’t just happen from the top down,” the official said. said. .

“It’s just that the schedule is too tight right now.

“I mean if AFC just let us host without any conditions then we will do it, but we don’t know what are the conditions to host the Asian Cup and if we can meet it. meet the standards or not…”

The AFC, which has not yet responded to a request for information on the process of replacing the host country, will meet for its 32nd Congress in Kuala Lumpur later on Wednesday.

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