Arsenal's Japanese defender against Asian Cup schedule

By Hoang An   January 5, 2024 | 06:45 pm PT
Arsenal's Japanese defender against Asian Cup schedule
Takehiro Tomiyasu plays for Arsenal in the English Premier League. Photo by Reuters
Japan's Takehiro Tomiyasu, an Arsenal defender, argues the Asian Cup should be held in the summer like the UEFA Euro so players don't have to leave their clubs in Europe mid-season.

The Asian Cup used to be held in the summer like Euro or Copa America, until 2007.

Since 2011, the tournament has been held in January, like the African Cup of Nations (AFCON).

This change occurred partly because national leagues in Asia often take place within the calendar year, instead of taking place between two years like in Europe.

"I want the Asian Cup to be played in June, the same as the Euros," British newspaper Evening Standard quoted Tomiyasu as saying. "I don’t know why we are playing in January. Not only the Asian Cup but AFCON as well. It’s not good for the players. But it is what it is and I will try to come back with the title."

Because the Asian Cup and AFCON are FIFA tournaments, clubs are forced to release players to their national teams at those times.

Tomiyasu is still recovering from injury and it’s unclear when he will arrive in Qatar for the Asian Cup. Arsenal will also have to release midfielder Mohamed Elneny when he returns to play for Egypt in the AFCON. However, Arsenal are not the team most affected by these two tournaments as Nottingham Forest will miss six players.

Currently, Asian Football Confederation (AFC) club tournaments have switched to a two-year schedule, similar to the UEFA Champions League.

Some national leagues are also scheduled to follow AFC, such as Saudi Pro League, Qatar Stars League, Thai League, and Vietnam’s V. League.

However, other national leagues such as the J1 League in Japan or Korea’s K League 1 still take place within a calendar year, partly because the climate in Japan and Korea is less ideal in winter than in West Asian or Southeast Asian countries. Those two tournaments take a break in the winter, around December to February, to help players avoid the cold weather.

The fact that the Asian Cup does not happen around the same time as the Euros or Copa America is also an opportunity to help the tournament attract more attention from the football world.

Japan are in group D with Vietnam, Iraq, and Indonesia. In the opening match at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 14 (Hanoi time), Japan will face Vietnam at Al Thumama Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

go to top