The Asian Football Confederation said on Saturday that China has renounced its right to host the 2023 AFC Asian Cup due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
The tournament, which is conducted every four years, was scheduled to take place from June 16 to July 16 next year, with 24 national teams from around the continent competing.
It was also scheduled to take place in ten other Chinese cities.
“The AFC recognizes the extraordinary circumstances produced by the COVID-19 outbreak, which resulted in China PR relinquishing its hosting rights,” the AFC said in a statement.
“During the preparations, the AFC collaborated closely with the CFA and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Local Organising Committee, and significant milestones were met, including the publication of the tournament logo and the inauguration of the freshly finished Shanghai Pudong Football Stadium last year.
“The AFC appreciates that China PR, the CFA, and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 LOC took this tough but essential choice in the collective interests of the AFC Asian Cup 2023, which has also given the AFC the necessary time to review the circumstances of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 hosting.
“The AFC will continue to work closely with its business partners and stakeholders to map the route ahead, and we are thankful for their patience and support during this time.”
The successor host country has yet to be identified.
The decision follows the cancellation of a number of major athletic events in the nation, including football’s East Asian Championships and the multi-sport Asian Games.
Formula One has also not raced in China since 2019.
China is still enforcing a COVID-zero policy, which has kept Shanghai closed for more than a month, as well as rigorous public health restrictions in Beijing.