Qatar will host the next AFC Asian Cup after beating out Indonesia and South Korea for the right to stage the tournament, it was announced on Monday, and organisers want to move it from mid-2023 to early 2024 to avoid the oppressive heat of a Gulf summer. The reigning Asian Cup champions, it will be the third time Qatar has hosted the event, after previously doing so in 1988 and 2011. China originally won the rights to hold the tournament, but then pulled out earlier this year over its zero-Covid policy. Hong Kong have qualified for the event for the first time in 54 years. AFC chief unopposed for re-election, Saudi Arabia boss seeking Fifa seat “On behalf of the AFC and the Asian football family, I want to congratulate the Qatar Football Association on being awarded the hosting rights of the upcoming edition of the AFC Asian Cup,” Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, president of the Asian Football Confederation, said. “We must also thank the Football Association of Indonesia and the Korea Football Association for outlining their intentions to stage the tournament.” With Qatar hosting the Fifa World Cup next month, Shaikh Salman highlighted the desert nation’s “existing world-class infrastructure and unrivalled hosting capabilities”. “Qatar’s capabilities and track record in hosting major international sporting events and their meticulous attention to detail are well admired throughout the globe,” he said. “We are confident that Qatar will stage a worthy spectacle befitting the prestige and stature of Asia’s crown jewel.” The gas and oil-rich country has built seven stadiums and upgraded another around the capital Doha to host the 32-team World Cup finals in November and December. The Qatar Football Association (QFA) has proposed that the 24-team tournament be shifted from its original dates in June and July next year to run for a month from January 24, 2024, its spokesman, Ali Al Salat, told Reuters. The AFC executive committee, which made the decision to award the tournament to Qatar, also shortlisted India and Saudi Arabia as the final two bidders for the 2027 Asian Cup, with a final choice to be taken by the governing body’s congress at its next meeting in February. “In the All India Football Federation and the Saudi Arabian Football Federation, we have two exemplary bids, and I am confident that the Qatar Football Association will strengthen the foundations for the eventual 2027 hosts to build upon,” Salman said. The 2023 tournament is the second major event the AFC has awarded Qatar in the past two weeks, and comes it was selected ahead of United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Uzbekistan to stage the under-23 Asian Cup in 2024. The top three teams in at the under-23 tournament will qualify for the Paris Olympics later that year, while the fourth-best team will have a play-off for qualification against a nation from CAF. Saudi Arabia are the defending champions.