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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," according to Nguyen Phuong Linh of REUTERS. Vietnam PM Nguyen Tan Dung said that 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." Dung: "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. State budget is limited and has to be focused on investing in other very urgent tasks." Economists' estimates for the "cost of Vietnam hosting the Games have varied" from $150M to as high as $500M (REUTERS, 4/17).
Singapore Sports Council CEO Lim Teck Yin said that when Singapore hosts the Southeast Asia Games next June, the "iconic Padang or the Marina Bay Floating Platform could host some of the competition's football matches," according to Sazali Abdul Aziz of THE NEW PAPER. Previously, it was known that the "Sports Hub and Bishan Stadium would host football matches," but the SEA Games Organizing Committee (SINGSOC) is "looking for a third venue." Lim explained that "both the Padang and Floating Platform have restrictions." The Padang will also be the venue of the National Day Parade (NDP) next August, while the pitch at the Floating Platform is "artificial and would need to be re-laid with grass before it is suitable to host SEA Games football matches" (THE NEW PAPER, 4/17). THE NEW PAPER reported the SINGSOC will "embark on a three-pronged concept" under the theme of "Celebrating the Extraordinary" for the SEA Games in a "bid to foster ownership of the Games and evoke national pride among Singaporeans" (THE NEW PAPER, 4/17).
FREE TICKETS: In Singapore, Chan U-gene reported tickets for next year's SEA Games will be "made available free of charge, in a push to generate greater community interest in the region's biggest sports event." Half the tickets to the "estimated 36 sports on offer will be given to members of the public." Organizers, however, have "yet to confirm how many of the tickets in each sport will be made free." Details on how to obtain these tickets, as well as to "buy the remaining tickets, will be announced in June." Sales are "slated to take place in November" (STRAITS TIMES, 4/17).
FIBA on Wednesday announced the launch of the int'l tender process to identify the host nation for the 2019 FIBA Basketball World Cup (FIBA). ... South Korea's "professional baseball and football games were subdued in response to the ferry disaster that left nine dead and 287 missing as of press time." Starting Wednesday, Korea Baseball Organization teams canceled their "first-pitch ceremonies, which frequently involve celebrities, and there were no cheerleaders or songs at the games in Seoul, Daegu, Gwangju and Busan" (KOREA JOONGANG DAILY, 4/18). ... The only LPGA Tour event held each year in South Korea will "expand from three rounds to four rounds starting this year" (YONHAP, 4/17).