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China counts down to Asian Cup, China 2004
( 2003-10-27 11:34) (www.asian-football.com)

The countdown to the Asian Football Confederation's (AFC's) biggest event ever, Asian Cup, China 2004, begins in earnest this weekend as AFC and Chinese Football Association (CFA) officials launch the tournament's identity and commence the Official Site Inspection of the four venues.

Next year's event promises to spectacularly mark the 50-year anniversary of the AFC, where Asia's national team championship will take place in the world's largest country. Involving more countries than ever before, with an increase from 12 to 16 participating national teams, the AFC Asian Cup China 2004 will no doubt be a fitting celebration to commemorate the outstanding achievements of Asian football over the past half century.

AFC Senior Vice President Mr. Asad Taqi, Vice President Mr. Zhang Jilong and General Secretary Dato' Peter Velappan were among the guests at a ceremony held today at the Beijing Television Station, to launch the official identities of the event.

Also attending on Sunday were Deputy Mayor of Beijing City Mr. Liu Jingmin, Chairman of Beijing Sports Council Mr. Sun Kanglin, Deputy Chairman of Beijing Sports Council Mr. Wang Ning and other Government Officials, representatives of host cities Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing and Jinan, sponsors, media partners and the press.

The ceremony marks the start of the official countdown to the kick-off for the 13th edition of Asia's most prestigious football tournament on July 17, 2004.

Following the success of Asian teams at last years 2002 FIFA World Cup, Korea/Japan, next year's Asian Cup is expected to be the most successful both on and off the pitch.

The world's media will descend on China in July next year and Sunday's launch provides an appetizer to what can be expected over the next nine months.

In the week following the launch, representatives from the Asian Cup China 2004 Organizing Committee will conduct a site inspection of all stadiums and facilities to be used during the event next year.

AFC Senior Vice President and Chairman of AFC Competition Committee, Mr. Asad Taqi, said today, We are here to support our colleagues from the LOC and VOCs who have worked very hard to ensure that the Asian Cup 2004 meets with the expectation of the football living public in China and in Asia.

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