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South Korea, Australia, Indonesia, Qatar seek 2023 Asian Cup

AFC's announcement comes after China dropped plans to host event

A man walks past an AFC Asian Cup billboard in Beijing on May 14: China was due to host the 24-team event but is now prioritizing its zero-COVID policy.   © Reuters

(Reuters) -- South Korea, Australia, Indonesia and Qatar have submitted Expressions of Interest to replace China as hosts of next year's Asian Cup, the Asian Football Confederation said on Monday.

The deadline for the four associations to submit their bid documents has been set for Aug. 31, and the AFC's executive committee will announce the new host on Oct. 17, it said.

China was due to host the 24-team event, scheduled for next June and July, but the country's efforts to follow a zero-COVID-19 policy resulted in it being moved.

South Korea won the inaugural Asian Cup in 1956 and retained the trophy as hosts four years later, the only time for it to stage the finals. The country has not staged a major tournament since co-hosting the World Cup with Japan in 2002.

Australia, Asian Cup winners in 2015, has a busy 2023 planned as co-hosts of the Women's World Cup with New Zealand. That tournament starts in a year.

Football Australia chief executive James Johnson said earlier this month the governing body had consulted with the AFC to consider moving the Asian Cup to later in the calendar to avoid a clash with the World Cup.

Qatar will stage the men's World Cup from Nov. 21 to Dec. 18. It has hosted the Asian Cup twice, in 1988 and 2011, and won the tournament in 2019.

Indonesia was one of four co-hosts of the 2007 Asian Cup and exited in the group stage, its best finish in the tournament.

Japan's Football Association confirmed in May it had been informally approached about the possibility of replacing China as hosts, but technical director Yasuharu Sorimachi told local media earlier this month there was little chance of it bidding.

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