South Korea is deemed the favorite in Asian Cup 2023 hosting bid compared to their three contenders.
Korea Football Association has officially submitted their bid for hosting Asian Cup 2023. They are one of the four countries who have shown their interest to host the continental event after China, the original host, withdrew all the sudden in June due to their zero COVID policy leading to another lockdown throughout the nation. Korea will be competing with Indonesia, Australia and the host of World Cup 2022, Qatar.
Asian Cup 2023 is set to be held from June, 16 to July, 16 next year and AFC is not keen on changing the schedule at the end of the year just like this year’s world cup as it could potentially lead to the contestants’ difficulty in getting permission to call up their key men who are playing in European leagues. The end of the year happens to be the middle seasons there. Thus, the star players could even miss out the tournament which might be less appealing for the Asian fans.
Korea is the frontrunner in this bidding race since they have the infrastructure and venues in place and ready for the tournament. They have experienced in hosting several international competitions from Olympic Games 1988 in Seoul, World Cup 2002 with Japan and FIFA World Cup U20 in 2017. Those all had been a huge success. The two-time Asian Champions has never been the host of Asian Cup since 1960, the last time they lifted the trophy. Last but not least, Korea has no plan for hosting any sporting event in their upcoming agenda.
Their two rivals in the South East region, Indonesia and Australia, might not be prioritised by AFC. The former who once one of the joint hosts in Asian Cup 2007, have been appointed by FIFA to hold World Cup U20 in the same year. It is set to begin on May 20 and finish on June 11, which is only five days before the kick off. The latter, the host of 2015 edition, will be the host of FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 alongside New Zealand, which starts on July 20, or just four days after the final.
Meanwhile, Qatar, the reigning champions, despite having their stadiums and infrastructure ready for the tournament, will not be able to stage Asian Cup in summer. The date will have to be pushed in November, which is not what AFC prefers. They have been a host twice already as well, in 1988 and 2011. Therefore, Qatar is not likely to be the favorite.
Asian football governing body have extended the deadline for bidding documents formal submission from July to the end of August. It means the four candidates will be wrapping up the process this month. The new host will be named on October 17 by AFC Executive Committee.