BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- China sports authorities officially started preparatory work for the FIFA Club World Cup in 2021 and the 2023 AFC Asian Cup here on Tuesday.
Gou Zhongwen, head of China's State General Administration of Sport, said at a meeting in Beijing that the Club World Cup and the Asian Cup will be a great platform to showcase China's achievements in reforming and opening-up.
"We need to set up the organizing committee soon, and facilitate the construction of venues. Meanwhile, we will work closely with FIFA and AFC to present great events," Gou added.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced in October, 2019 that China will host the inaugural edition of the expanded Club World Cup in 2021. The new Club World Cup will be held every four years featuring 24 teams and replaces the current seven-team annual format.
Eight Chinese cities including Shanghai and Guangzhou have been selected to host the inaugural edition of the expanded Club World Cup in 2021. Sources told Xinhua that Shanghai will host the opening ceremony and final of the Club World Cup.
The 2023 Asian Cup will feature 24 of the continent's best national teams competing across the country during a month-long tournament. China hosted the 13th edition of the Asian Cup in 2004, so the 2023 edition will mark the second time Asia's top soccer competition is played in China.
Ten Chinese cities including Beijing and Shanghai will host the AFC Asian Cup in 2023, with Beijing hosting the opening ceremony and the final.
Hosting major international football events is listed as a major objective in the Chinese government's 2015 plan for football reform and development, with hopes that the country will have developed into a global footballing powerhouse by 2050.
Gou added that hosting the two events will be a major boost to China's football reform.