Vietnam backs out as host of 2019 Asian Games

Thu Apr 17, 2014 2:28pm EDT
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HANOI (Reuters) - Vietnam quit as host of the 2019 Asian Games on Thursday, citing a lack of preparedness and concerns that holding the multi-sport event would not prove financially viable.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam was suffering from the effects of global recession and the state was unable to foot the bill for facilities and venues that would not be profitable in the years after the Games.

It was not immediately clear which country would take over from Hanoi as hosts of the 18th Asian Games.

"We've only heard about it and we are waiting for a formal communication from the Vietnam Olympic Committee," Randhir Singh, secretary general of the Kuwait-based Olympic Council of Asia, told Reuters.

"Once we receive that, we'd be in a better position to comment on it.

"It's too premature to talk about new possible venues. There is a procedure but first we have to wait for confirmation from Vietnam that they have withdrawn."

Dung held a crisis meeting with top officials on Thursday and concluded it was better to opt out now, because poor preparation could damage Vietnam's reputation.

"Hosting this could help us promote our economy, society and the country's image. However, if we did not prepare carefully and successfully, it could have the opposite effect," Dung said in a statement posted on the government's website on Thursday.

"State budget is limited and has to be focused on investing in other very urgent tasks."   Continued...