— Published 18 October 2022

Qatar wins Asian Cup

One more. A month and a few days before the opening of the 2022 football World Cup (20 November to 18 December), Qatar added a new piece to its rich collection of sporting events on Monday 17 October. The Gulf state has been awarded the Asian Football Cup in 2023. The continental tournament had initially been awarded to China, but it announced last May its decision to abandon it, citing the health crisis. Several countries in the region soon expressed interest in taking over the competition, including Qatar, South Korea and Indonesia. On Monday 17 October, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) put an end to the suspense by announcing that its executive committee had awarded the tournament to the Qatar Football Association (QFA), chosen in particular for the quality of its stadiums, built for the 2022 World Cup, and its unique capacity to host the competition in a tight timeframe. The 2023 Asian Cup was originally scheduled to take place in 10 Chinese cities from 16 June to 16 July, but the dates of the tournament in Qatar have not been confirmed due to the very different weather conditions in the Gulf. It appears that the continental event will instead take place at the very beginning of 2024. The choice of Qatar has not left South Korea without a reaction. Its football federation expressed disappointment after the AFC announced its decision, saying it would have been justified in awarding the event to the country after an interlude of more than 60 years. “Against all odds, we faced stiff competition from Qatar, which entered the race with abundant financial, human and material resources,” the South Korean Football Association suggested. It seems that the unconventional offensive and support from Middle Eastern countries to dominate Asian football has also influenced the situation.