Australia excluded from 2023 Asian Cup, wants to host 2026 women’s tournament

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia have decided not to bid for the 2023 Asian Cup but will bid for the 2026 women’s tournament, Football Australia said on Friday.

Australia, along with South Korea, Indonesia and Qatar, had submitted an expression of interest to replace China as hosts of the 2023 tournament.

“Football Australia has since decided not to submit an official bid for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup,” the governing body said in a statement.

“Football Australia maintains its strong interest in bidding for the 2026 AFC Women’s Asian Cup and will submit a formal and full bid to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) by the required deadline later this year.”

The FA gave no reason to pull out, but chief executive James Johnson said in July that a bid would depend on government support and that the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) would be willing to move the tournament to January- February 2024.

China was due to stage the 24-team event in June and July next year, but waived its hosting rights in May as it pursued a zero COVID policy.

Australia are set to co-host the 2023 Women’s World Cup with New Zealand in July-August next year.

The deadline for applications for the Men’s Asian Cup was August 31. South Korea confirmed this week that it had submitted a bid.

Contacted by Reuters on Friday, the AFC declined to say whether Indonesia and Qatar had also made offers.

The Indonesian Football Association declined to comment on its interest in the tournament. The Qatari Football Association did not provide an immediate comment, but a source confirmed to Reuters that the necessary documents had been submitted.

Australia, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Uzbekistan have expressed interest in hosting the 2026 Women’s Asian Cup, the AFC announced last month.

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