Indonesia favourite to take on 2019 Asiad
A guard standing in front of the Water Sports Palace built for Southeast Asian Games 2003 in Hanoi on November 23, 2012 - by Hoang Dinh Nam
A decision on the new country will be made on September 20 in Incheon, South Korea which will host this year's Asiad at the same time.
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung announced on Thursday that his country was pulling out of hosting the 2019 Games because of economic "difficulties".
Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) leaders warned Vietnam this year that they were already falling behind in preparations, officials said.
Staging the world's second biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics requires hundreds of millions of dollars of investment.
"Three countries have shown an interest in hosting the 2019 Asian Games following Vietnam’s withdrawal," an Asian sports source familiar with negotiations told AFP.
Indonesia is one and the other two candidates are also from East Asia, the source added without naming the other two.
"Indonesia, which was beaten by Vietnam in the hosting vote in 2012, is seen as the strongest candidate," the source said.
OCA members confirmed that Indonesia is the leading candidate but said more negotiations would be needed.
"The Jakarta authorities have asked questions about the cost," said one official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Indonesia staged the Asian Games once before, in Jakarta in 1962.
OCA director general Husain Al Musallam said the Asian council will decide the new Games host on September 20, during the OCA General Assembly in Incheon.
The 2014 Asian Games start in Incheon on September 19.
"The OAC knew about the decision and is happy that Vietnam made it public on April 17 because delaying it would have made it difficult for the OAC and Vietnam to select another venue," Musallam told AFP.
"After the Games were awarded to Hanoi, the OAC carried out three inspection visits to the Vietnamese capital and made it known to the local organizers that the conditions were not being met," he added.
Hanoi signed a contract with the OCA setting out the conditions, including the building of stadiums and infrastructure for staging the Games.
“The last meeting between the OAC and the Vietnamese Olympic committee took place on March 31 and the OAC made it clear during that meeting that the 2019 Asian Games have to be held to the highest standards," the official added.
Hanoi was chosen in 2012 to stage the 2019 event which attracts more than 10,000 competitors though the number of events is being cut.
Vietnam's prime minister blamed a lack of experience in hosting large sporting events and "difficulties in the country's socio-economic situation" as the reasons for withdrawing from the 2019 Games.
"Vietnam will apply for the hosting of ASIAD at an appropriate time," an official statement said.
Vietnam's Olympic Committee initially proposed a budget of about $300 million for the Games. But as the country recovers from an economic crisis, the government slashed the sum.
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