Asian Games: Replacement hosts needed fast but it won't be Singapore, says IOC's Ng

Asian Games: Replacement hosts needed fast but it won't be Singapore, says IOC's Ng

SINGAPORE - The Olympic Council of Asia must move fast to find a replacement city to host the 2019 Asian Games, International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Ng Ser Miang told Reuters on Friday.

But the chief of the IOC's finance commission ruled out his suitable Singapore homeland as an option.

Vietnam's government announced its surprise decision on Thursday to quit as hosts of the event in their capital Hanoi, citing a lack of preparedness and concerns that holding the multi-sport event for the first time would not prove financially viable.

Wealthy Singapore will host the much smaller SEA Games in 2015 for 11 South-east Asian countries in their soon to open US$1 billion (S$1.25 billion) sports hub, which includes a 55,000-seat stadium, and 6,000-capacity aquatics centre, but were not seeking any extra work load at short notice.

"With the process of selecting a city and preparing the city for the Games, time is of essence as we are only five years away," Ng said in a statement sent to Reuters.

"We are putting all our resources and energy to ensure a successful SEA Games. A bid for 2019 Asian Games is not on the cards at the moment."

Hanoi was awarded the Games in November 2012 ahead of the Indonesian city of Surabaya but the cost of hosting the event, which economists have estimated could be as high as US$500 million, was an issue.

Indonesian Olympic officials also voiced concerns about the likely increased price when asked if they were interested in rebidding.

"We have to realise that budgeting to host such an event will be different by now," Indonesia Olympic Committee chairman Rita Subowo told Reuters via telephone. "The government of Indonesia may be ready to take over, but what about the hosting city?

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