Despite supporting Ho Chi Minh City to host the 2021 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, a sports leader has warned of such challenges as time constraints, investment, and personnel during an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on April 7.
Phan Nguyen Nhu Khue, director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Culture and Sports, noted that the organization of the 2021 SEA Games is now just a plan since it has yet to be officially announced by the Southeast Asian Game Federation (SEAGF) and the Vietnamese government has not made any confirmation.
The hosting of the event will serve as a motivation for the sports sector of the city to develop, Khue told Tuoi Tre.
It will also become the motive for social, economic, and tourism growth, he added.
However, challenges await ahead, Khue warned.
Six years from now is not long enough for building infrastructure and preparing human resources for the organizing work and the competition.
So far, the city has planned on paper the Rach Chiec Sports Complex in District 2, which is expected to host the opening and closing ceremonies and the competition of some sports, such as football and track and field.
Khue admitted that he cannot confirm the willingness and readiness for organizing the 2021 SEA Games.
He rejected some suggestions to upgrade Thong Nhat Stadium in District 10 because it has seriously deteriorated and is now located in a very busy area, which is unbearable for tens of thousands of people leaving the stadium after a match.
The SEAGF has proposed Vietnam play the role of the host of the 2021 SEA Games on rotational grounds.
In 2003, Vietnam hosted the 22nd SEA Games. The regional sports festival was first held in Thailand in 1959. SEA Games is organized every two years and the host is chosen on a rotational basis, according to the federation.
Malaysia has confirmed to host the 29th SEA Games in 2017.
The SEAGF has requested that Brunei follow in 2019, Vietnam in 2021, and Cambodia in 2023.
Cambodia was slated to organize the 2021 SEA Games but the nation then demanded a delay, so Vietnam has been asked to host the 31th sports festival.
Vuong Bich Thang, head of the General Sports Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, said the ministry will submit a report on the issue to the government for approval and the Vietnam Olympic Committee will give an official reply in a SEAGF meeting on June 4 in Singapore.