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Hanoi SEAG in 2027?



AFP Photo.

Some quarters in the Southeast Asian Games Federation Council will be pushing for the 31st SEA Games to be moved to 2027 as the region struggles to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

According to an unimpeachable Daily Tribune source, some personalities in the 11-nation body would lobby to hold the biennial meet in 2027 when they sit down in a virtual meeting on Thursday.

Postponing the Games to 2027 will be more logical than canceling it altogether.

The source explained that holding it next year will be very impossible as Singapore and Malaysia will be competing in the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham while Thailand will stage the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Bangkok and Chonburi before seeing action in the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

Then, Cambodia will host the SEA Games in 2023 while Thailand will have its turn in 2025 and Brunei in 2027.

The source said he was told that there is a strong possibility for Brunei to decline the hosting chore anew, similar to what it did in 2015 when the Philippines took its place as organizer of the 2019 edition.

“Actually, the sentiment among member countries is that they want to push it through but the next couple of years will be very busy,” said the source, a senior sport official who has strong ties with some personalities in the SEA Games Federation Council.

“For them, the most practical thing to do is to reschedule the Vietnam SEA Games to 2027. Yes, it’s going to be six years from now, but they are sure that it’s going to be an edition that looks like just before when there was still no pandemic.”

Previous reports have it that the government of Vietnam became cold in hosting the Games due to the surge of coronavirus infection in the region.

With that, the Vietnam SEA Games Organizing Committee called for an emergency meeting two weeks ago to discuss whether to push through with the Games or not.

Eight countries, including the Philippines, voted for the staging of the Games this year while Vietnam and Myanmar, which is under a military junta, voted against and Laos abstained.

The source said those who are batting for the staging of the Games this year know that the decision is in the hands of the Vietnamese government.

After all, holding the Games in this time of pandemic will be very costly for the Vietnamese as they also have to spend for the additional protocol cost with very limited return from sponsorships and ticket sales, just like what is happening to the Tokyo Olympics.

“Holding a major sports event this year entails additional costs on protocols,” the source said.

“But more than that, you have to concern yourself with the common good and not to put your citizens and guests in harm’s way.”

“At the end of the day, it’s the national government of Vietnam which will decide.”

“But if that decision is to cancel the Games altogether, some members will lobby to hold it in 2027, instead.”