China will host the 2023 Asian Cup

China was awarded the 2023 Asian Cup, this was confirmed a while back and China ended up being the only country wanting to host the competition after South Korea pulled out to concentrate on trying to win the Women's World Cup in the same year.

An Asian Cup in China will be great

I believe an Asian Cup in China will be great, they are still pumping a lot of money into their domestic leagues, and the popularity of the game there is still improving and has room to grow exponentially to the point where it could become the biggest league in Asia.

My belief that China could one day be the biggest league in Asia, surpassing the likes of Japan is solely down to money and right now it seems like some of their cash is going on the right things and some on the wrong things. It remains to be seen whether or not they'll get to where they want to be and become a country that constantly competes on the world stage, but hosting the Asian Cup is another step along the road to becoming one of the best nations in Asia, and to a stage where China is seen at every World Cup.

With the Asian continent casting its eye on China for the finals in 2023, China won't want to lose face by not allowing people to have a good time like they do in their domestic league, by dispersing crowds who are chanting outside the stadium for example. There will be none of these issues for visiting fans who will go to China to enjoy the Asian Cup because China will want to show the world they have the ability to host a major tournament as it's an open secret they want to host a World Cup.

Fifa president Infantino has even been quoted saying he would discuss with Fifa's board members about China being able to bid for the 2030 World Cup, which previously wouldn't have been considered because Qatar will host it in 2022 and Fifa would normally be reluctant to give one continent two World Cups so close together. But Infantino has been quoted as saying he would welcome a bid from China because the more the merrier where bids are concerned.

By hosting the Asian Cup, China can show Fifa they are capable of hosting the World Cup, even an expanded one, and China, like America (I am aware they're co-hosting) and other massive countries are more than capable of hosting an expanded World Cup without any co-hosts, and most likely will put on a great World Cup at that, despite the inevitable negativity that will come from social media and the press about a Chinese World Cup.

Twelve host cities - final in Shanghai

Twelve host cities have been put forward in the bid, and they are; Shanghai, Beijing, Changsha, Chengdu, Chongqing, Dalian, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Tianjin, Wuhan, and Xian. The Chinese bid has picked cities that already have a football culture, so there should be a good atmosphere around these games, but at any tournament that all depends on which teams will be playing.

As we know in all tournaments, some teams bring less interest than others. Other than being football cities, China has picked cities that are mostly huge metropolis'. Most of the cities are located in central or East China, which was to be expected.

Visa issues for fans wanting to go to the finals

I recently looked into going to Shanghai for a weekend, to watch Newcastle play in the Premier League Asian trophy. The visa was supposed to be £151 but you need to go to the Chinese embassy office to apply for it, and because I live in Taiwan there is no Chinese embassy (for obvious reasons - if you don't know why then google is your friend) so I then had three options to look into.

The first option was to pay an agency a fee to help me get the visa. The fee prices changed depending on how quickly you wanted your passport back with the visa in. The slowest, if I remember correctly would cost roughly £100 in fees. Then it increased rapidly, to £150 quid for it to be done in a week, and for it to be done in 4 days it was going to cost around £200.

As the article on the agency site was written in Chinese, I was unclear whether those fees included the cost of the Chinese visa, or didn't include the cost of the Chinese visa. So if they didn't include the Chinese visa cost, then the cost for me of getting a Chinese visa would be close to £300 and that is before you even include flights and spending money.

The second option was to fly to Hong Kong and get the visa there before travelling onwards to Shangai, the third was to fly into Shanghai from Taipei with flights out to another destination and apply for the transit visa.

This meant I would have to fly Taipei to Shanghai, Shanghai to Hong Kong, then Hong Kong to Taipei. No option was a good one, and every option was an expensive one so I give up trying to go. However, I desperately want to be at the Asian Cup so I need to figure out how to plan better for it, as the Chinese embassy will only allow you to apply for the visa 1 month before according to their website.

I am aware this is a special situation and not all fans wanting to go to the Asian Cup will face this situation that I do, hell even if Taiwan qualify, Taiwanese fans don't have to face this situation either, but they do have to apply for a Chinese identity card which I believe a lot of them would be against. 

Even without the extra added hassle of living in Taiwan, the cost of the visa for going to China is high for most nationalities, so this may cause a problem for fans travelling there. Or would China put on some kind of special deal, where if you have match tickets you can go in visa-free, or on some kind of special visa? I believe this is something Russia did for the World Cup and it should be done for the Asian Cup or when China does get the World Cup.

Either way, an Asian Cup in China is going to be a great tournament, because they will be determined to put on an amazing event to show Fifa they are capable of hosting events in order to attract the World Cup. 

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