Brunei withdraw from hosting 2019 SEA Games

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brunei have pulled out of hosting the 2019 Southeast Asian Games after failing to get government backing with Philippines showing interest in stepping in to replace them, local media reported on Friday.

Brunei told the Southeast Asian Games Federation (SEAGF) Council meeting of their decision on Thursday after failing to receive the green light from its Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.

“It is with much regret for us to inform the council today. That is the news we received,” Brunei National Olympic Council (BDNOC) vice president Hj Muhd Zamri Paduka Hj Hamdani was quoted as saying by The Brunei Times.

“The main reasons... were lacking of sports facilities, accommodation and not enough preparation for the athletes.”

The Philippines last hosted the biennial games for the 11-nation bloc in 2005 and are scheduled to host again in 2025 but reports from Thursday’s meeting in Singapore said they were willing to step in at short notice.

The 28th SEA Games gets underway in Singapore with the opening ceremony on Friday. Malaysia will host in 2017.

Reporting by Patrick Johnston