China will host the 2023 Asian Cup in a drive to increase presence of the sport there and target and expansion of TV rights deals, the Asian Football Confederation decided tonight.
The unanimous decision marks the second time Asia’s crown jewel will be played there after hosting the 13th edition in 2004 when the tournament was expanded to 16 teams for the first time.
Since then, Asia’s flagship national team competition has grown to 24 teams with the United Arab Emirates staging the biggest-ever earlier this year.
AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said: “This is an important moment for football in Asia and beyond.
"Football now has a chance to unlock the potential that exists in the world’s most populous country.
“We have seen the rise of the game under the direction and investment of the Chinese Government. Now we have the chance, with this Asian Cup, to develop a true legacy for the global game.
“Hosting the AFC Asian Cup will provide China with great facilities and infrastructure to stage football tournaments.
“It will provide inspiration for tens of millions of children. The Asian Cup can provide a launch pad for the great Chinese football teams of the future.”
“And more importantly can place football as the number one sport in the country."
As part of the country’s long-term ambitions, China PR have proposed building new football specific stadiums in nine of the planned twelve host cities.
The bid also comprised the inclusion of one back-up existing stadium in each host city - all of which meet the latest international competition requirements set by the AFC.
An AFC spokesman added: "The AFC also hopes that the staging of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 in China P.R. will mark the growth of commercial rights."
The Chinese FA’s bid was the only one with Indonesia, Thailand and Korea all withdrawing at the later stages of the bidding process.