The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Saturday that China has surrendered their rights to host the 2023 Asian Cup finals due to the COVID-19 situation in the country.

The event, which take place every four years, featuring 24 national teams from across the continent, was due to be held in 10 cities from June 16 to July 16 next year.

“Following extensive discussions with the Chinese Football Association (CFA), the Asian Football Confederation has been officially informed by the CFA that it would not be able to host the AFC Asian Cup 2023,”

“The AFC acknowledges the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the relinquishment by China PR of its hosting rights.” AFC explained in a statement.

The Confederation indicated that the decision about the hosting of the tournament is to be revealed in due course.

In this attempt to tackle the pandemic China also had to push away the Asian Cup event.

Earlier this month, the Asian Games organisers, the Olympic Council of Asia postponed the next edition of the multi-sport event, set to be held in Hangzhou in September, until 2023.

China are on zero-COVID policy and cities across the country have faced tight restrictions as a result of a recent outbreak of the Omicron variant.

Maximum of international sports events in China have been postponed or cancelled since the start of the pandemic, with the notable exception of the Winter Olympics, which went ahead in Beijing under strict health controls in February.

The Chinese Super League yet to announce when the new football season will begin.

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