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Saigon Could Host the 2021 SEA Games

If a new government proposal is approved, Saigon could be the official host for the 31st SEA Games in 2021.

According to Tuoi Tre, back in 2015, the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism submitted a complete plan for Hanoi to be the base city of the SEA Games 2021. However, in a recent round of adjustments to the proposal, the ministry added Ho Chi Minh City as another potential host for the sport tournament.

The news source also shared that HCMC authorities are in the process of finishing the proposal, which details how Saigon will accommodate SEA Games activities, for submission in April.

Saigon officials are mulling three options in total when it comes to hosting the regional games. In the first plan, Saigon is the only host and will have to finish constructing and renovating three sports complexes by 2021: the Rach Chiec Sports Complex in D2, the Phu Tho Indoor Stadium and the Phan Dinh Phung Sports Complex.

This is also the most expensive plan, for which the city would be expected to shell out more than VND5 trillion (US$219.3 million) – VND1 trillion (US$43.8 million) for organizing the event and VND4 trillion (US$175.4 million) for constructing new facilities. The second and third options instead involve utilizing Binh Duong province and Hanoi, respectively. Saigon will only have to shoulder 70% of the sports.

According to the ministry, HCMC was added into the bid because municipal officials hope to improve the city’s sports and fitness scene. While the metropolis is Vietnam’s leading economy, its sports facilities are lagging behind: there are no existing structures which can accommodate a football tournament or swim meet at an international standard. Through preparations for this upcoming SEA Games, city officials are trying to bring the city up to speed with regional development.

On the other hand, should Hanoi turn out to be the ultimate choice for the event, Vietnam’s expenses will be much lower at VND1.757 trillion (US$77 million), as the capital has already hosted the games before.

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