Japan ‘out’ over 2023 Asian Cup

File photo: A man wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) walks past an AFC Asian Cup billboard as he emerges from a makeshift nucleic acid testing site amid an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) 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 emerges from a makeshift nucleic acid testing site amid an outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) 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 host of next year’s Asian Cup, Chairman Kojo Tashima told Nikkan Sports.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced last Saturday that China had withdrawn from hosting the 24-team continental championship citing the COVID-19 situation in the country.

Without giving further details, Tashima told the newspaper, “We were fired.

“If Japan is able to host, there is no question that it will be quite exciting.”

JFA was not immediately available for comment.

Japan has the stadium infrastructure to host the World Cup in 2002, the Global Showpiece of Rugby in 2019 and the co-host of last year’s Olympic football tournament, in June and July of the following year.

Other potential hosts such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Australia will need to move the tournament to the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024.

Qatar, which will host the World Cup later this year, and Saudi Arabia will be uninvited in the middle of the year due to the summer heat, with Australia co-hosting the Women’s World Cup in July and August 2023.

Last year’s Tokyo Olympics were held in a bio-protected bubble with limited local crowds because athletes and officials feared the novel’s coronavirus could spread.

Japan said on Tuesday, however, that it would begin conducting “test tourism” in the form of limited package tours in May as a way to gather information for tourism before the country is fully reopened.

Tourists have not been allowed to enter Japan since the country adopted strict border controls at the start of the epidemic in 2020.

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

An FA official in South Korea said they had a “briefing” after China relinquished its hosting rights but did not have enough time to host a world-class tournament in the country.

“When we applied for the 2023 Asian Cup many years ago, we had a lot of time but this Asian Cup is happening next year and it can’t just happen in a top-down manner,” the official said on condition of anonymity. .

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

“I mean, if the AFC allows us to host it without any conditions, we will do it, but we don’t know what the conditions are for hosting the Asian Cup and whether we can meet the standards …”

The AFC, which did not respond to requests for information on the host country’s transition process, is meeting in Kuala Lumpur later Wednesday for its 32nd Congress.

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