China has been handed an opportunity to showcase itself as a future Fifa World Cup host after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) awarded the country hosting rights to the 2023 Asian Cup, reports, www.sportspromedia.com/.
Speaking at the AFC Extraordinary Congress in Paris, where the hosting rights were unanimously awarded, AFC president Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said the 2023 Asian Cup will be "an important moment for football in Asia" that will "unlock the potential that exists" in China.
He added: "We have seen the rise of the game under the direction and investment of the Chinese government. Now we have the chance, with this Asian Cup, to develop a true legacy for the global game.
"Hosting the AFC Asian Cup will provide China PR with great facilities and infrastructure to stage football tournaments.
"It will provide inspiration for tens of millions of children. The Asian Cup can provide a launch pad for the great Chinese football teams of the future."
"And more importantly can place football as the number one sport in the country."
The decision to award China the 2023 Asian Cup could act as a springboard for a potential bid to host the 2030 Fifa World Cup, with the country set to build new soccer-specific stadiums in nine of the 12 cities slated to stage games during the AFC's flagship international tournament.