SEOUL, May 16: South Korea have abandoned their bid to stage football�s Asian Cup in 2023, authorities said, leaving the sole other bidders China with a free run to become hosts.
The Korea Football Association (KFA) said in a statement it had pulled out to �strategically focus� on a joint bid with North Korea to host the Women�s World Cup in the same year.
The KFA announced the joint bid in March, but diplomatic contacts between Pyongyang and Seoul have since dwindled with North Korea-US nuclear talks deadlocked.
�For the Women�s World Cup, FIFA and the South Korean government will provide active support so that the joint hosting by South and North Koreas can be materialised,� the KFA�s head Chun Han-jin said in the statement late on Wednesday.
Seoul�s Asian Cup withdrawal means that China should on June 4 be confirmed by the AFC (Asian Football Confederation) as hosts of the nations championship finals for the second time.
China staged the tournament in 2004 when the hosts lost 1-3 to Japan in the Beijing final. The KFA announced Seoul�s bid to host the 24-nation 2023 edition two years ago, saying it hoped to �host the most prestigious football tournament in Asia� 63 years after holding it for the first time in 1960. � AFP