The Qatar Football Association and Qatar’s government media office did not respond immediately to Reuters’ request for comment or questions about when the tournament would take place.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) announced on Monday that Qatar will host the Asian Cup in place of the original hosts, China, after beating out bids from South Korea and Indonesia.

China was awarded the continental championships in 2019, but the world’s most populous country relinquished the rights earlier this year as part of its zero-COVID policy.

The AFC reopened the bidding process on Monday, and Qatar, which will host the World Cup finals beginning next month, was chosen over bids from South Korea and Indonesia.

“Qatar’s capabilities and track record in hosting major international sporting events, as well as their meticulous attention to detail,” AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said in a statement.

“With their existing world-class infrastructure and unrivalled hosting capabilities, we are confident that Qatar will put on a show worthy of Asia’s crown jewel.”

The Gulf state has hosted the Asian Cup twice before, in 1988 and 2011, and won the most recent edition in 2019.

To host the 32-team World Cup finals in November and December, the gas and oil-rich country has built seven stadiums and upgraded another around the capital Doha.

The 24-team Asian Cup is now likely to be pushed back from its original dates in June and July to later in 2023, or even early 2024, to avoid playing during the hottest months of the year.

The Qatar Football Association and Qatar’s government media office did not respond immediately to Reuters’ request for comment or questions about when the tournament would take place.

South Korea had been considered the favourite to host the finals because the country had not hosted the event since 1960, when they won the second of their two Asian titles.

Because of the country’s lack of stadium infrastructure, Indonesia was considered an outsider, especially after more than 130 people died in a stampede at a match at Kanjuruhan stadium in East Java on Oct. 1.

According to the AFC, the executive meeting began with “heartfelt condolences” to the Indonesian FA “as well as the families and loved ones of the precious lives lost.”

Qatar was also one of three countries bidding to host the Asian Cup in 2027, after Iran and Uzbekistan withdrew their bids.

The AFC executive committee shortlisted bids from India and Saudi Arabia for that tournament on Monday, with a final decision expected at their February meeting.

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