Singapore won't take over as 2019 SEA Games host
Singapore will not be taking over the hosting of the 2019 SEA Games following the pull-out of the Philippines, Singapore National Olympic Council secretary-general Chris Chan said yesterday.
Last Friday, the Philippines said that it won't be hosting the biennial Games as it wishes to focus on rebuilding war-torn Marawi, leading to suggestions that 2015 hosts Singapore may take over.
When contacted by The New Paper yesterday, Chan said that there are "several" options to resolve the issue, but Singapore will not be among them.
He said: "It doesn't make sense, why would Singapore host again so soon?
"Looking around, there are a few options: One, Vietnam could bring forward their turn, or maybe other countries who don't have problems with venues and infrastructure could take over."
Malaysia is hosting the upcoming edition from Aug 19 to 30, while Vietnam (2021) and Cambodia (2023) have been slated for future editions.
The Philippines last hosted the Games in 2005, and agreed in 2015 to host the 2019 edition, after Brunei and Vietnam declined.
Philippine Sports Commission chairman William Ramirez said in a statement last Friday: "Resources shall be focused on rehabilitation and rebuilding of Marawi instead of funding the 2019 hosting of the South-east Asia Games."
Militants, who have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, have occupied parts of the city for about two months, with the country's armed forces battling to regain control of the city.
Chan said the SEA Games Federation has not discussed the issue of 2019 Games hosts.
However, its council may do so during a scheduled meeting before the Kuala Lumpur Games' opening ceremony on Aug 19.
He added that "many countries" have been waiting for a long time to host the Games, although he did not disclose who they are.
He said: "You don't have to have a big Games with 40 sports, the rules permit you to work around the number."
Sports are separated into three categories under the SEA Games Federation Charter - Category 1 sports aquatics, including diving and water polo, and athletics are compulsory for every Games.
Host countries must pick at least 12 Category 2, or Olympic and Asian Games sports, and a maximum of eight from Category 3 (regional sports). A minimum of 22 sports is required.
The 2015 Games in Singapore offered 402 events in 36 sports, while the upcoming edition in Malaysia will offer 405 events in 39 sports.