Malaysia to host 2023 Asian Cup?

KUALA LUMPUR – Will Malaysia be hosting the Asian Cup for the second time come 2023?

It all depends on whether the country will express its interest in staging the most prestigious Asian football tournament for the second time.

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The 2023 Asian Cup is without a host country after China announced it was pulling out of its commitment recent, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as the main reason.

According to Asian Football Confederation (AFC) secretary-general Datuk Seri Windsor John, AFC will be sending out bidding documentation to its member associations, including Malaysia, earliest by next week, as they seek a replacement host country for the 2023 Asian Cup.

“We will give them about a month to decide before the deadline by end June to submit the proposal (to host the Asian Cup 2023).

“After that, we will evaluate the proposal, including conducting an inspection visit before we hand it to the executive committee to decide (on the new host),” he said when met at the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) Hari Raya celebration.

On whether there will be COVID-19 related guidelines to host the 2023 Asian Cup, Windsor said that it was time to move on from having such restrictions.

He pointed out that the next FIFA World Cup in Qatar, an Asian country, which will be held this November, had no such limitations imposed.

“Not only the World Cup, there will be no restrictions on the upcoming 2023 Asian Cup qualifying round in certain Asian countries next month, so it has to be an open Asian Cup like it was before the pandemic hit,” he added.

Malaysia previously hosted its first ever Asian Cup in 2007, when the country co-hosted the quadrennial tournament with Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.