China has formally submitted a bid to host the 2023 Asian Cup, state media said, another sign of the country’s determination to eventually stage a football World Cup.
China has hosted the Asian Cup once before, in 2004, but its latest attempt is significant because of President Xi Jinping’s stated desire for the country to hold a World Cup.
The World Cup tournaments for 2030 or 2034 have regularly been mooted as the most likely that China will go for.
Staging the 2023 Asian Cup would help prepare China for a World Cup, but it faces stiff competition from South Korea.
Having the Asian Cup again on Chinese soil will “promote the popularisation and development of football” in the country, Xinhua news agency said.
China reached the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup in the UAE at the start of this year, before going down 3-0 to Iran.
Fabio Cannavaro was named Marcello Lippi’s successor as coach of the national team on Friday.
© Agence France-Presse