Qatar won the 2019 AFC Asian Cup

China has withdrawn as host of the 2023 Asian Cup because of Covid-19.

The 24-team competition was to be held across 10 cities from June next year.

But the country is dealing with its worst coronavirus outbreak since the pandemic began.

“The AFC acknowledges the exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the relinquishment (by China) of its hosting rights,” the governing body said in a statement.

It added it would announce details about the hosting of the tournament “in due course”.

Shanghai in particular, where the new Pudong Football Stadium was unveiled in October 2021, has been under a tough lockdown for the last month.

Earlier this month, September’s Asian Games, also due to be held in China, were postponed because of the country’s coronavirus situation.

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