ISTANBUL – Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, China has withdrawn from hosting the 2023 Asian Cup which was to be hosted across 10 Chinese cities next year, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said on Saturday.

In a statement, the AFC said that it has been officially informed by the Chinese Football Association that it would not be able to host the tournament.

"The AFC acknowledges the exceptional circumstances caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to the relinquishment by (China) of its hosting rights," the statement added.

The governing body said that it “will continue to work closely with its commercial partners and stakeholders to chart the course forward and remains grateful to them for their understanding and support during this period.”

“Further details about the next steps related to the hosting of the AFC Asian Cup 2023™️ will be announced in due course,” it added.

China was appointed host of the tournament at the AFC Extraordinary Congress in French capital Paris on June 5, 2019.

Previously, the 2022 Asian Games, which were scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China, were postponed due to the pandemic.

Also, the 2021 Asian Youth Games Shantou, which had been planned to take place in the Chinese city of Shantou, were also cancelled. (Anadolu)