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Four nations vie to host Asian Cup after China withdrawal

Australia, South Korea, Qatar and Indonesia are bidding to stage the 2023 Asian Cup after China withdrew citing the Covid pandemic, with a decision to be announced in October, officials said Monday.

China had pulled out in May as the host of the 24-team competition as it pursued a zero-Covid policy — a strategy that makes staging sports events a major challenge.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) unveiled the new contenders to host the tournament after the deadline for submissions closed on Friday.

Australia are aiming to host the competition for a second time, after staging it in 2015. 

South Korea have also staged the Asian Cup once before, in 1960.

Qatar — the 2022 World Cup hosts — have staged the Asian Cup twice, in 1988 and 2011. 

The tournament has never been held in Indonesia.

AFC will announce the new host on October 17. 

The Asian Cup is staged every four years. Qatar won the last edition in 2019.

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