Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President, FIFA First Vice-President, Shaikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa, has expressed his full confidence in China’s ability to prepare well for hosting the AFC Asian Cup 2023, affirming AFC’s support for its preparatory efforts.
In a recorded message marking the establishment of the Local Organizing Committee of the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 (LOC), Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim extended his congratulations to the committee’s Co-Chairmen Gou Zhongwen and Chen Jining, as well as to the Executive Chairman, Du Zhaocai.
“I must thank everyone for their outstanding work so far in preparing for what we all agree will be the biggest and best AFC Asian Cup. There are 10 fantastic modern cities in each corner of the People's Republic of China. Each will have a new or renovated football stadium which will showcase the very best of Asian football event. It will also demonstrate to the world China PR's ability to stage world class events,” AFC’s website quoted Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim as saying.
The AFC President added: “We share the vision of President Xi that China should become a world football force in the coming years. And events such as the AFC Asian Cup can only help to fulfil that aim. We also share your ambition to engage with more fans than ever before.
“The AFC will support you on this exciting journey and will assist you wherever we can. We know you will deliver a wonderful AFC Asian Cup in China in 2023. Congratulations again to all with today's appointment. Enjoy the rest of today's event and I wish everyone the very best and success."
Chen Jining, Mayor of Beijing Municipal Government, said that the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 will further boost Beijing's international influence.
Du Zhaocai, Vice Minister of China's State General Administration of Sport, noted that the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 will be a good platform to demonstrate China's achievements and a stimulus to promote Chinese football development as well as economic and social development.
He added that China PR will build Asia’s flagship national team tournament into a world-class sporting gala which will showcase the country’s excellence in staging top-level international sporting events.
"All the preparatory work is on track despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the AFC Asian Cup China 2023 will leave immense legacy for the country to host higher-level international football events in the future," Du added.
After the establishment of the LOC, Du said the LOC will help the 10 host cities set up their own offices and build an effective communication mechanism to link the AFC with the host cities and the LOC.
The AFC Asian Cup China 2023 will feature 24 of the Continent's best teams competing across China PR and it will mark the second time Asia’s crown jewel will be hosted in the country after staging the 13th edition of the AFC Asian Cup in 2004.
The event will be played in professional football stadiums in 10 host cities: Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Chengdu, Xi'an, Dalian, Qingdao, Xiamen, and Suzhou, where the renovation and construction of all venues have made significant progress.
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