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OCA searches for new 2019 Asian Games host

The Olympic Council of Asia is seeking a new host for the 2019 Asian Games after Vietnam announced it was withdrawing from hosting the event, for financial reasons.

Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said Vietnam was still feeling the consequences of the global economic downturn and could not justify building the required venues and facilities at this time.

In 2012, Hanoi was chosen ahead of Surabaya in Indonesia to host the 18th Asian Games, which are moving to the year before the summer Olympics after this year’s Asiad in Incheon, South Korea.

However, there have been concerns in Vietnam over the likely cost of the event, with estimates varying from US$150 million to US$500 million.

In a statement on the government website, the Prime Minister stated that Vietnam would “quickly work with the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) for measures to pull out from the hosting of Asiad 2018 in Hanoi”.

He added: “Hosting this could promote our economy, society and the country’s image, however, if we did not prepare carefully and successfully, it could have the opposite effect.

“The State budget is limited and has to be focused on investing in other very urgent tasks.”

The OCA now has to secure a new host for the Asian Games just five years out from the event.

This year’s games, which take place from 19 September to 4 October 2014, are expected to involve around 10,000 participants.