South Korea on Thursday submitted its bid to host Asia’s top football tournament in 2023.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said it sent the country’s “expression of interest to host” the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup to the continental governing body at 2 p.m. Thursday.
The deadline to submit bids is July 15. It had been set for Thursday, but the AFC announced on Tuesday that it would push the date by 15 days, though the KFA met the old deadline anyway.
The opportunity to stage the quadrennial tournament opened up in May when China withdrew as the host due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Korea first expressed its interest in the tournament on June 20, and the KFA began accepting applications from cities interested in hosting Asian Cup matches.
Once the bidding process ends, the AFC Administration will submit its recommendations to the AFC Executive Committee, which will then select the new host.
Japan, Qatar, Australia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are also reportedly interested.
The UAE, Australia, and Qatar are the three most recent posts. Japan last staged the tournament in 1992.
The AFC Asian Cup was first held in 1956, and South Korea hosted the 1960 tournament. The Taeguk Warriors have only won two Asian Cups — in 1956 and 1960.
The 2023 tournament will feature 24 countries. The KFA said should an East Asian country win the bid, the tournament will likely take place in June 2023. But a West Asian country will likely hold it in January next year, considering the climate in the region.
The AFC has laid out stadium capacity requirements for successful candidates. Matches through the quarterfinals must be played at stadiums with at least 20,000 seats. The semifinal matches must be hosted at venues with 40,000 or more seats. The opening match and the final match must be played at a stadium with at least 50,000 seats.